Eid al-Fitr in U.S., 2002

December 6, 2002

Source: The Columbus Dispatch

On December 6, 2002 The Columbus Dispatch reported that "most of central Ohio's Muslims will spend today praying together and feasting with families during one of the faith's most important holidays. Eid al-Fitr, the Feast of Breaking Fast, marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Since Nov. 6, able-bodied Muslims have been abstaining from food, drink and sexual activity from sunrise to sunset. Islam uses a lunar calendar, and its months begin with the sighting of a new moon. That happened Wednesday night in much of the world but not in North America. The Eid thus began yesterday in Europe and Asia but was delayed until today on this continent. In recent years, a local highlight of the holiday has been communal prayer at the Ohio Exposition Center, said Taymour El-Husseiny, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Columbus. The local Muslim community feels it is a blessing that restoration of the Islamic Center, a mosque on E. Broad Street, is almost complete. Last December, vandals did more than $100,000 in damage, destroying much of the interior and fixtures and desecrating holy texts. Worship, religious school and other programs were moved to other parts of the city. Except for the school, which will relocate on E. Cooke Road, mosque operations have resumed, said Norma Tarazi, a Muslim community leader. Providing adequate space for a Muslim community that has greatly increased in the past decade to 25,000 remains a challenge for the faithful. Much of the growth has come from an influx of Somalis, Ethiopians and other immigrants. The state fairgrounds provides enough room for Eid worship and other special occasions, but more is needed for weekly communal prayers. Mosques on E. Broad Street, Riverview Drive and Oak Street have been mainstays, and ones on E. Cooke and Refugee roads are more recent additions. Progress has slowed in construction of the Noor Center, a mosque and community center on Wilcox Road in Hilliard."