Philadelphia's Muslims mark end of Ramadan

Posted: July 30, 2014

AT FDR PARK in South Philadelphia, hundreds of Muslims prayed in unison yesterday as children jumped gleefully in a moon bounce nearby and the smell of barbecue wafted in the air.

Munthir Muhammad's son pulled on his father's arm excitedly, urging him toward the fun.

"We don't have Christmas or Easter. This is our holiday," said Muhammad, 40, of Grays Ferry.

The gathering was the Eid al-Fitr celebration held by the United Muslim Masjid to mark the end of Ramadan and its 30-day fast.

A prayer service that attracted about 500 people was followed by the festivities in the park. This is one of two major celebrations in the Muslim calendar, said Qasim Rashad, of the masjid.

Rashad said the Muslim population in the city is quickly expanding, citing about 20 conversions during the month.

Haneefah Furguson, 53, of North Philadelphia, brought three generations of Muslims with her to the park after they celebrated the fast's end with a breakfast of red velvet pancakes at Green Eggs Cafe. The celebration is a time for herself and her family members to bond.

"Today I am going to relax, eat, drink lots of water and just enjoy my grandbabies," she said, smiling at one of the children playing on a blanket next to her.

Although Furguson has celebrated Ramadan for many years, she said each one brings new experiences.

"Every year I get something different," she said. "It's just not about fasting, it's about studying and learning more about your religion, about yourself, about your lord, about being kind to your neighbor. Every year you walk away with something different."

The Eid "is about family, fun and overall enjoyment - to celebrate another blessed month," Muhammad said.

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