Raleigh, N.C. — Thousands gathered in Raleigh on Monday for Eid-al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.
Organizers said over 8,500 Triangle-area Muslims attended the service of prayer and celebration, a turnout that reflected the growth and diversity within that community.
“As you look around the crowd that’s gathered here, you will literally see people from dozens and dozens of countries, including homegrown people like me,” said Ali Zelmat, spokesperson for the Islamic Association of Raleigh.
The morning started with a call to prayer, a mournful, mesmerizing voice that drew the faithful to remove shoes, spread prayer rugs and kneel shoulder to shoulder.
The prayer was followed by a sermon in which those in attendance were exhorted to “be there for others, preventing any kind of wrongdoing among each other.”
Eid-al-Fitr is the second of two Islamic Holy Days celebrated by over 1.8 billion people around the world. The day marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan.
“It’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment,” Zelmat said. “It takes so much self discipline, but at the same time, we already miss it, because it’s such a valuable and amazing experience.”
Worshipers say Ramadan is more than simply going without, but about not going it alone.
“The whole family is together, every day, for 30 days. It’s very wholesome,” Tahirah Siddiqui of Raleigh said.
Osama Aid compared it to Christmas. “It’s a very spiritual time for us,” he said.
Eid-al-Fitr prayer, celebration mark end of Ramadan in Raleigh – WRAL News