Security is expected to be tight Sunday as Southern California’s Muslim community gathers for communal prayers and other observances to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
One of the largest observances is set for Angel Stadium where up to 20,000 Muslims from more than 100 Mosques will participate in Eid al-Fitr, “the feast of fast breaking” marking the official end of Ramadan.
The events come amid safety concerns prompted by a number of anti-Muslim attacks around the nation recently as the Trump Administration continues fighting for its travel ban on people from a number of mostly Muslim countries.
The massive annual observance at Angel Stadium usually takes place in the baseball venue’s parking lot, but this year it will instead be held behind secure walls on the outfield grass as a safety precaution, organizers told the Orange County Register.
Entrances will be closely guarded, and participants will need to obtain free tickets from their home mosques or organizations to enter service.
“We’ll have our usual security for that event,” said Nicole Alhakawati, one of the organizers. “We’ve also requested additional police patrols.”
The concerns about security come amid a spate of recent attacks including the murder of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen of Reston, Va. who was assaulted and killed as she left a Mosque on June 18.
Police in the Sacramento area are investigating the discovery of a burned Quran filled with bacon that was found hanging by a handcuff from a fence Saturday outside the Masjid Annur Islamic Center in Sacramento.
In a separate incident, someone driving by in a car threw pages torn from a Quran into the Islamic Center of Davis on Friday night.
On Monday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued an alert to mosques and Islamic organizations nationwide warning them to be vigilant.
“We’re asking mosque administrators to make sure the areas are well-lit and there’s adequate security available,” the council’s Southern California executive director, Hussam Ayloush, told the Register.
The warning also urges prayer participants to ignore taunts or other forms of harassment.
“If you feel unsafe, call the police and move to a safe place immediately,” the advisory recommends.
In addition to prayers and services at individual mosques, other special events in Southern California include an Eid al-Fitr breakfast Sunday at the New Horizon School in Pasadena, an evening celebration at the King Fahad Mosque in Culver City and an Eid Celebration Monday at the Pretend City Children’s Museum in Irvine.
Ramadan, which began May 26 and ended Saturday evening, is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar when Muslims abstain from food, drink and other “sensual pleasures” from dawn to sunset.
During this time Muslims exchange social visits to strengthen family and community bonds. Many communities hold bazaars and other activities following the prayers.
–City News Service
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