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As Ramadan Begins, Muslims Keep Traditions Alive With Technology

Fareed Khan
Associated Press
People attend evening prayers while maintaining a level of social distancing to help avoid the spread of the coronavirus, at a mosque in Karachi, Pakistan.

Ramadan begins tonight, but with social distancing guidelines in place, Muslims around the world are making some adjustments to how they observe it. One North Texas Muslim leader is keeping certain spiritual traditions alive.

Khalid Kark, vice president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Dallas Chapter, says it’s been a longstanding tradition to hold interfaith events every year during Ramadan. This year, a public health emergency means they have to rely on technology.

"We’ve had community members, police officers, other church leaders, Jewish leaders and we will continue to send out those invitations," Kark said. "And we’ve also said our mosque is a community — it’s not for us only. So if we can’t do it physically, we’ll do it virtually."

Kark says he's been using Zoom to communicate with members since they can’t gather inside their mosque in Allen. They've been collecting food and other essential supplies to deliver to people who are running out.

The mosque is participating in an online blood drive pledge through the American Red Cross, and a virtual interfaith community iftar is planned for May 9. You can register online for the event.

Even though they can’t congregate in person, they can still practice other rituals, like prayer. In fact, Kark says, this is the perfect time to double down on prayer, especially for those who are sick.

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.