By: Shirin Nouh
As the Maghrib adhan echoed at the Islamic Center and its parking lot on Saturday, August 18 crowds of people gathered to break their fast. Within the crowd their was a clear sense of diversity as well as unity. Ramadan at the Center was indeed a spectacular sight with the community coming together every evening and bonding during this blessed month. Each group was anxious to share their meal with the other and you could sense the feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood vibrating in the air. They were participating in the last iftar of the month of Ramadan. This year the Center continued to provide iftar on the weekends while hosting potluck style iftars Monday-Thursday. Indeed without the commitment of the ICSC staff and volunteers, none of this could have been accomplished.
Then there was the nightly juz recitation of the Quran. Alhamdulillah, we were blessed with two proficient reciters whose readings echoed in the air and filled the hearts with words of remembrance of Allah (SWT). Reciter in training, Wasi Momin, could also be heard in the evening. We also experienced beautiful Quranic recitations by our community’s children and were blessed by a pool of well-known scholars, who shed light and gave further insight into the recitation.
Attendance increased even more during Isha and Tarawih prayers. Then there were those memorable Saturday spiritual nights for the adults, led by Dr. Saleh Kholaki, and for the youth, led by Sr. Soha Yassine, which gave the community an even greater opportunity to worship Allah (SWT) asking Him for His forgiveness, blessings, and mercy during these blessed moments.
Eid ul-Fitr was celebrated on Sunday, August 19, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. People gathered takbeerate, emotion in the room. Listen to takbeerat. More than 6,000 people attended. Dr. Saleh Kholaki led the community in prayer while Dr. Maher Hathout offered a memorable and uplifting khutba. Addressing the youth in the second part of his khutba, Dr. Hathout reminded them to strengthen their bond and connection with Allah (SWT) and strive for excellence in whatever they do. Failure is not an option, Dr. Hathout reminded, indeed the only option is success through working hard and becoming high-achieving active participants of the American society and pluralism.
After the khutba, Dr. Elhami, ICSC Chairperson greeted the community, wishing them a happy eid and introduced Deputy Cheif Mike Downing . Chief Downing addressed the crowd and remindind them of the values of justice, truth, peace, and equality that America is founded upon and assured that despite these challenging times, the LAPD is there to defend and protect them all and ensure that these values do indeed prevail. The chairman of the Board of ICSC concluded the event by emphasizing the importance of the relationship with LAPD over the years thanking all the participants for attending, acknowledging their continuous dedication and support, and wishing all a happy and joyous Eid al-Fitr.