DUBLIN, Ohio (WCMH) – The holy month of Ramadan began Saturday and many in the Islamic faith are celebrating in person for the first time in years.
Saturday marked the first time many Muslims were able to gather in person due to COVID-19 restrictions.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims take the time to fast and pray throughout the day, with many coming to worship at the Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Dublin Saturday.
“I was dreaming to have, you know, people back to the mosque here, and praise be to God, last year was OK, but this year, we almost came back to normal,” said Abdel-Moneim Dobal, imam for Noor Islamic Cultural Center.
Throughout the pandemic, Dobal said he went from praying in the mosque by himself to being surrounded by friends and loved ones again.
And while masks are encouraged, they are not required, which Dobal believes brought many people back inside.
“So many people came yesterday, with no distance,” he said. “They still have the masks a little bit here in the mosque, but no distance. Give us a chance to have more people in the mosque.”
However, there are still some changes from the pandemic that are still being followed.
“We still have some restrictions, right now,” said Azhar Masood, Noor’s executive director. “We used to have what we call when we break our fast in the evening, Eid al-Fitr, we’re not doing that right now still.”
Masood said that rather than eating indoors without masks, the community center is providing boxed meals for everyone to take home for after their fast.
“It was really, really hard on all of us, but then, slowly, when people start coming in, it was a relief,” said Azhar Masood, Noor’s executive director. “So now this year, we are totally open.”