Washington – The month of Ramadan unites American Muslims and brings them closer to each other, whether they are immigrants or those born and raised as Muslims in the United States.
Like Islamic countries, America is witnessing the phenomenon of Ramadan banquets, and many Islamic centers, mosques, and universities organize free Ramadan breakfast banquets for fasting people, and American Muslim families eat breakfast there, because of the manifestations and rituals they provide that reflect the Ramadan atmosphere in Islamic countries.
Before his advent, President Joe Biden issued a statement congratulating American Muslims and the rest of the world on the month of Ramadan, and said that "Muslims have been part of the American story since the founding of the country."
Generation after generation, Biden added, “Muslim Americans continue to strengthen the diverse fabric of our nation, from science and technology to the arts and academia to law, medicine, business, government and many other areas, so today let us join together in all our cultures and religions and renew our commitment to making our nation more equal and just.” forgiveness and mercy.”
The number of Muslims in the United States is not known with certainty, as US laws prevent the collection of religious affiliation information in its official general census, but expert estimates indicate that the proportion of Muslims ranges between 1 and 2% of the total population of the United States of 333 million people, that is, between 3.3 million and 6.6 million people, and Muslims are spread in all US states.
Breakfast at Diyanet Center
Al-Jazeera Net participated in the Iftar of the Rahman Table at the American "Dianet" Center "DCA" (DCA), located in the Lanham area of Prince George's County, Maryland, 15 km from the US capital.
The mosque provides group iftar meals to thousands of people from all backgrounds: Muslims and non-Muslims, families, students, elders, youth, children and people from all strata of American society.
Farzad Ayat – a Pakistani technological engineer who has been working in the United States for 3 years – told Al-Jazeera Net, "I pray in the center here every day and eat breakfast as well, and this does not mean that I am poor, on the contrary I am financially comfortable, but coming to the center makes me feel the Ramadan atmosphere that I miss her all day."
Thanks to the contributions and donations of many American Muslims as well as many local organizations and institutions, this free breakfast service has become a distinctive symbol and tradition of the "Diyanet" center, and in Ramadan last year more than 35,000 people joined the Iftars, according to the center's estimates.
Many Muslim families from the greater Washington area are keen to come to pray, eat breakfast, and accompany young children, to get used to the religious and social atmosphere of Ramadan.
Many families bring their food with them, and share their food with others, while a small percentage of families accept free meals that are believed to be reserved for the needy or students and expatriates.
Support for earthquake victims
In addition to practicing religious rituals – including fasting and Tarawih prayers – Muslims in the United States take advantage of the atmosphere of the month of Ramadan, to introduce followers of other religions to Islam by hosting them in mosques and at iftar tables.
One of the supervisors of the Islamic Center told Al-Jazeera Net, "The Ramadan Iftar tradition in the "Diyanet" center this year is more important than its predecessors, due to the bitter consequences of the devastating earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria, and with our deep sorrow over the human and material losses, we are also working hard to collect aid funds to help survivors".
Indeed, hundreds of Muslims here give tens of thousands of dollars daily to alleviate the burden and suffering of thousands of earthquake victims through donations.
While Prince George's County officials say they are not aware of any threats against the Diyanet center, plans are in place to provide police patrols throughout Ramadan around the center.
Al-Jazeera Net monitored 3 local policemen who contribute to facilitating access to the mosque and directing traffic in the surrounding streets.
Policeman Omar – an American of Palestinian origin – stated that "as a Muslim, I am happy with the opportunity to work in the Islamic Center during the month of Ramadan, and there are no security problems at all."
As for the policeman, Adam – an American of Egyptian origins – he praised the behavior and smoothness of dealing with the worshipers and the management of the Islamic Center, and indicated that he was pleased to communicate with Muslims from all continents of the world during his service in this place.
It is noteworthy that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened the Islamic Center "Diyanet" in April 2016, to become one of the largest mosques in the United States, and the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs paid $ 110 million to cover construction costs, and the center was registered as a non-profit organization in the United States, and it has assets At a value of $93 million, according to her most recent tax return.
The Islamic Center occupies an area of 15 acres (an acre equals about 4,200 meters), and it consists of 5 main buildings, the first of which is the mosque, which was built in the style of classical Ottoman architecture in the 16th century and accommodates 760 worshipers, a cultural center building, a guest house, and a dining hall with its restaurant that accommodates 180 people. people, and a recreational building that includes a Turkish bath, an indoor swimming pool, and a sports center, in addition to an underground parking garage.
The mosque also contains two minarets, each with two porticoes, and is distinguished for being the only mosque in North America that contains two minarets.