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Victoria Muslims celebrate end of Ramadan (Video)

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
Aug. 19, 2012 at 3:19 a.m.
Updated Aug. 20, 2012 at 3:20 a.m.

Safia Putnam displays her enthusiasm for a gift she receives at Eid al-Fitr.  Eid is a  celebration of the end of Ramadan, a holy month of fasting and prayer.

An aroma of sugary decadence wafted through the Victoria Islamic Center on Sunday as Imam Osama Hassan greeted his Muslim congregation.

"Eid Mubarak," he said smiling, reaching to embrace the men and women inside the mosque.

Following the Islamic month of Ramadan, a 30-day span of fasting and prayer, Muslims gather to observe Eid al-Fitr, a feasting and celebration day that marks the end of the holiest time of the Islamic year.

"This is the day we celebrate the message of God and that we got through so many days of desiring to eat and drink," the Imam said, who has not eaten or consumed liquids during daylight hours for the past month. "I learned to appreciate all what God provides us. It really makes us feel how the hungry suffer ... It's amazing that we have so many things, but we don't recognize it until we lose it."

Adorning the walls of the Islamic Center, multi-colored lights highlighted the colors in the ladies' unique hijabs and girls' Eid dresses, many of which were bought new for the occasion.

"My mom bought my dress for Eid," said 5-year-old Afnan Nusayr, twirling in her black and white, bejeweled Eid dress.

Afnan helped kick off the gift exchange for the congregation with the song, "Bless Ramadan," but said her favorite part of the community celebration was opening her gifts.

"I like when we get presents," she giggled.

The center was abuzz with the energetic chatter and smiles of people with full bellies, but at least a few were doleful that Ramadan was over.

"I'm a little sad it's over," said Arooj Qureshi, 34, of Victoria. "We're excited to celebrate today ... I just hope my efforts have been accepted and understood."

During the month, Hassan said he spent many hours at the mosque, especially during the final 10 days, which contain the Night of Power.

"I've been sleeping at the mosque and praying more than on a normal night because on the Night of Power, your prayers equal that of 1000 months," he said.

He believes his prayers have been heard by God, and is excited about the blessings to come.

"The prophet said there is true joy for the fasting person ... and we hope to meet God in a second life," he said. "It's a real achievement."

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