New York, MINA – More than 1,000 Muslims broke their first Ramadan and pray Tarawih in New York City on Saturday, on the sidewalk of a busy Times Square highway.
About 1,500 meals were distributed for the first iftar of the month to Muslims including those who had traveled from Montreal to attend the event.
Excerpts from the Quran were recited and organizers made speeches about the meaning of worship during the Islamic holy month.
“We’re here to explain our religion to everyone who doesn’t know what Islam is,” organizer and influencer SQ told CBS News. “Islam is a religion of peace.”
The event was organized via social media and advertised as “the first Tarawih prayer in Times Square”.
Some social media users worry that Times Square’s intense environment will not be conducive to reflection and prayer.
One Twitter user commented saying: “There are billboards everywhere, general music there? There must be a better place to pray… going to the local mosque sounds better!”
Others are concerned over the safety of Muslims gathering for high-profile displays of religious observance, as Islamophobic attacks in the US have proven to be very common.
Speaking hopefully about improving interfaith relations in the US, event co-organizer Ali Camara said: “You work with these people. You get on the train with these guys. We are all truly one.” (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)