Iowans of the Muslim faith are celebrating the annual holiday of Ramadan for the next month. Imam Taha Tawil heads the “Mother Mosque” in Cedar Rapids, North America’s oldest center for the Islamic faith. He explains there are worship services in the place but it’s also for educating the public about the Islamic faith. Cedar Rapids, he says, is a global city with many ethnic backgrounds, and in the community he says there are more than 22 nationalities represented. There are 2500 to three-thousand families in Cedar Rapids’ Muslim community, Tawil explains, and somewhere between 500 and 800 will be observing Ramadan. Because it uses an ancient calendar different from modern ones, Ramadan begins eleven days earlier each year, and eventually will in each part of the year as time goes by. Though it’s known as the month when Muslims go without eating every day from sunrise to sunset, the imam says Ramadan is a month of spirituality, of reviewing your life and reading the holy book of Muslims, the Koran.
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