Islamic community begins Ramadan on the steps of City Hall

The City of St. Petersburg ushered in the holy month of Ramadan with a proclamation from Mayor Rick Kriseman speaking from the steps of City Hall on Tuesday, April 6. | Photo courtesy of Skyla Luckey

BY FRANK DROUZAS, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — The City of St. Petersburg ushered in the holy month of Ramadan with a proclamation from Mayor Rick Kriseman speaking from the steps of City Hall on Tuesday, April 6.

Ramadan, celebrated by those of the Islamic faith the world over, is a month of fasting, prayer and reflection, and lasts from one crescent moon sighting to the next.

Imam Abdul Karim Ali encourages the next mayor to continue the yearly proclamations and Iftar dinners. | Photo courtesy of Skyla Luckey

Surrounded by Muslim community leaders, the mayor said one of the things the city has always strived to do is recognize the importance of diversity, tolerance, love and compassion.

“The City of St. Petersburg celebrates this month of Ramadan, the month of fasting, along with our friends, family and neighbors who are Muslim and are practicing one of the criteria of the religion of Al-Islam,” said Kriseman, who acknowledged this is the last time he will be issuing the proclamation as mayor.

He formally proclaimed the months of April and May 2021– coordinated with the Hijri calendar year of 1442 –as the month of Ramadan in St. Pete.

“We extend our best wishes for a very successful fast and celebration,” Kriseman said.

Saad Rahamouni, a leader with the Islamic Society of St. Petersburg, noted that Muslims evaluate their way of life through introspection during this month.

“We are called upon to retain and reinforce those aspects which are found to be positive and change those which are not,” he said. “We are called upon to examine the legacy that we will be leaving behind so that when we are no longer here, the world will be a better place because of us, not in spite of us.”

On behalf of the Muslim community, Imam Abdul Karim Ali personally thanked Mayor Kriseman for his support and for being a part of the city’s annual Iftar Dinner since 2017, when the event began. The dinner, which welcomes residents of all faiths to celebrate the holy month, is the evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset. The end of the fast is known as Eid-al-Fitr, or “Festival of Breaking the Fast” in Arabic.

Due to COVID-19, there will be no dinner this year, but a community-wide food drive was held on April 10 instead.

Ali expressed a hope for the continuation of the proclamation and Iftar dinners every year.

To reach Frank Drouzas, email fdrouzas@theweeklychallenger.com

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