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Area Muslims mark end of Ramadan with communal prayer gathering

Monday, July 28, 2014 - 11:33 am

About 1,500 Muslims from Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana gathered at 9 a.m. Monday at The Plex North for communal prayer marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

"This is more of a thanksgiving feast," said Dr. Tariq Akbar, a local physician and president of the Universal Education Foundation, the local Islamic organization that was host for the prayer gathering. "People thank God he gives them the opportunity to fast during the month."

Ramadan is s time of prayer, reflection and fasting. Muslims abstain from food, drink and intimacy with their spouse from dawn to sunset.

It also is a time for Muslims to be even more charitable than they are called to be during the rest of the year, Akbar said. The money donated is used to help needy families enjoy the holiday of Eid ul-Fitr (pronounced Eed-al-Fitter), or "feast of fast breaking," which begins with the end of Ramadan.

During Eid ul-Fitr, Muslims gather at Islamic centers or in each others' homes to enjoy food, socialize with family or friends, and to exchange gifts, he said.