The Islamic community in East Texas has had a busy month of Ramadan, with one of their biggest celebrations of the year, Eid al-Fitr, happening this weekend.
The event, which by most accounts will be Sunday, but depends on the moon sighting, includes breakfast for about 800, dinner for about 400, rides and jump houses for the children. Gift-giving is also a major part of the holiday; mosque members liken the event to Christmas in importance.
The congregation also will provide a gift for the two members who have been reciting the Quran from memory during the month of Ramadan, Jawad Memon and Ais Mohannad, both 21.
“We wanted to have something to give them, because it’s a great responsibility to recite every night for two hours,” Sattar said. “It’s part of our religion to extend gifts, even to non-Muslims. It increases the love; the hate goes away.”
The event comes just one week after the congregation’s 7th annual Open House, where non-Muslim members of the community were invited to come ask questions about the faith and enjoy a variety of international food.
“It’s great to see old and new faces,” Rahman Kafray, moderator for the event, said.
Many of those who attended have friendships with mosque members. Debbie Spears works with Kafray and attended open house to support her friend.
“We’re all just people,” she said. “It’s good to know a little about one another. Everyone here is always so sweet. (Coming to this event) is something people can do to learn to simply respect each other.”
The discussion was thoughtful and lively, covering a spectrum of issues about Muslim beliefs and how those beliefs play out in culture and government.
“I thought it went really well,” said Anwar Khalifa, one of the members of the panel who answered questions from the audience. “There was a good turnout and a lot of really good questions. You could tell people truly wanted to know.”