Celebrating the end of Ramadan

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Celebrating the end of Ramadan at the Islamic Center of Spokane.
Celebrating the end of Ramadan at the Islamic Center of Spokane.

SPOKANE VALLEY — Nearly 800 Muslims came together at the Islamic Center of Spokane on Sunday morning to celebrate Eid-al-Fitr — a holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

Ramadan is Islam’s holy month in which Muslims fast from sunup to sundown, say extra prayers, read the Quran and give to charity.

“Allah granted us with the ability and made it easy for us and gave us guidance,” said Saleh Elgiadi, a volunteer at the mosque.  “We’ve learned from fasting how to soften our hearts and suppress our desires.”

He delivered the sermon, since the Islamic Center is seeking an imam.

Elgiadi reminded those in attendance, which included many non-Muslim visitors, to be thankful for Allah’s blessings and to continue the practices of Ramadan into Shawwal, the Islamic month that follows Ramadan.

Women listen to the sermon at the Islamic Center of Spokane
Women listen to the sermon at the Islamic Center of Spokane

“Ramadan is a time when we take time off from our daily lives to reflect on, and strengthen our connection with our Lord,” he said. “I encouraged them to keep these things going.”

He also urged them to celebrate Eid-al-Fitr by reaching out to their relatives, friends and neighbors, to attend to the needs of the poor, widowed and sick and to help those who are saddened.

During Islam’s major holidays — Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha — many Muslims worship at the mosque who don’t normally attend.

Following the service, a potluck was held in the parking lot, where foods from all across the globe were represented.

Elgiardi said the Spokane Islamic Center has members from 30 different countries, and from every continent.

Many join in an Eid-al-Fitr potluck.
Many join in an Eid-al-Fitr potluck.

“It’s a blessing to have people come together on this occasion and fellowship. This is something that should happen every Friday (at the mosque),” said Abdul Wakil.

In the last two weeks there have been at least seven attacks on U.S. mosques. Elgiadi said the local Muslim community is disheartened by the attacks, but is not fearful.

“We have ample support from the Spokane community…Spokane may have a bad reputation, but it’s really a good group,” he said.

Maleck Chreiki, 15, said he was pleased to see non-Muslims at the Eid celebration, noting it’s the best way to fight Islamophobia.

“People need to be educated about what Islam really is. They should come check it out for themselves. And what will they see? They will see happy people all over, smiling,” he said.

For information on upcoming worship times, visit the Spokane Islamic Center website.

View more photos of this event on our Facebook page.

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About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Journalism Instructor at Washington State University.

She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and for the Religion News Service.

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