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US Muslims share Ramadan virtues
Sharing the spiritual experience of Ramadan fasting, Muslims in the southernmost US state of Connecticut have organized their annual Ramadan iftar, celebrating the holy month’s customs and values with their community of all faiths.
"It's hard, but we're used to it," Anyssa Dhaouadi, a freshman at American International College, president of the Islamic Center youth group and CAIR-CT youth director, told Connecticut daily The Day on Monday, July 22.
"You're supposed to keep your mind busy with good things.
“The last five minutes before breaking the fast are the hardest, because you're smelling all the good food."
Dhaouadi is one of the organizers of the Sharing Ramadan event held on Sunday evening at Connecticut College.
The event was attended by an audience of about 300 fellow Muslims along with several non-Muslims from the community.
Held annually during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, it is sponsored by the Connecticut Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Islamic Center of New London
It aims at bringing Muslims together and sharing the Muslim faith with others.
This year’s event was attended by Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio and several local school officials and community leaders.
Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, started in North America on Tuesday, July 9.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
The sick and those traveling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks.
Around the globe, Muslims observe Ramadan with a set of traditional rituals including family gathering at iftar, religious lessons, special evening prayer and helping the poor.
For Muslim groups, Ramadan is an occasion to educate the American public about the religious observance and the Islamic faith in general.
The educational events organized by CAIR include holding open houses at local mosques and Islamic centers, public lectures on Ramadan, interfaith Iftars and TV ads reminding all Americans that Muslims are an integral part of US society.
Season of Change
With no food or dawn to dusk, Ramadan fasting teaches Muslims to care more for spiritual development that too often gets neglected in modern society.
"When you don't pay attention to your spiritual being, your physical being suffers," Dr. Reza Mansoor, cardiologist at Hartford Hospital, assistant professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and president of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, said.
Fasting can build a "strong and healthy character" while at the same time helping people lose weight.
Ramadan, he said, can be a "month of change."
"You can make that first step," he said.
"You make one step towards God, and He takes two towards you."
The aim for fasting Ramadan has also touched Rama Majzoub, one of the speakers at the Sharing Ramadan program, during a recent conversation with an elderly woman in a grocery story.
"She asked why we do it, what's the reason behind our fasting," said Majzoub, a recent graduate of the University of Damascus.
"Ramadan teaches us about willpower, and how to be patient, and with that comes gratitude.
“It gives us a glimpse into the lives of the less fortunate."-http://en.shafaqna.com
Source: On Islam