Muslim-Jewish Cooperation: Ramadan in Virginia Synagogues

Posted on August 22, 2009


CAIRO — With mosques in the southern US state of Virginia are already bursting at the seams with worshippers, Muslims are turning to synagogues to perform prayers during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

“We say our prayers, and a few hours later they meet for Sabbath and they say their prayers,” Rizwan Jaka, a leader at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) mosque in Sterling, told the Washington Post on Saturday, August 22.

Last year, ADAMS rented spaces at two synagogues to accommodate the growing numbers of Muslims worshippers during Ramadan.

“People may think it’s strange or odd, but we are simply grateful for the space.”

There are a few number of mosques in Virginia, leaving the already existent worship of places unable to accommodate the growing numbers of worshippers.

Several mosques have been built in Virginia suburbs such as Manassas and Ellicott City, but many have been full from the moment they opened.

To meet the overflow, Muslims started renting hotel ballrooms, office space and synagogues to handle the problem.

“We are a community with many people but not so much money,” Mohammad Mehboob, a community leader, told the Post.

“But Allah has always provided for us.”

Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, started in the US, home to between six to seven million Muslims, on Saturday.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

Most dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through self-restraint, good deeds and prayer.

Muslim-Jewish Bonds

“We’re learning from each other, and we’re trying to give them the space they need and make them feel at home,” Nosanchuk said.

Many see that observing Ramadan prayers in Jewish synagogue helps strength bonds between Muslims and Jews in the US. [more]

Other related articles:
1. US Jews Rally Behind New Mosque.

2. US Muslims, Jews Set Dialogue Example.

3. U.S. Imams, Rabbis Promote Tolerance.