Ramadan 2010 USA: From Miami to Mecca, how 1.6 billion Muslims celebrate
Ramadan 2010, USA-style, includes streaming footage of Friday prayer sermons as Muslims seek to counter rising anti-Islamic sentiment. Saudi Arabia unveils a new clock, while Morocco makes do with makeshift tents after 1,256 mosques were closed.
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Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, unveiled an $800 million clock that rises high above Mecca’s Grand Mosque, the destination for Muslim pilgrims and the direction in which the world’s estimated 1.6 billion Muslims face in prayer five times a day. The devout are concentrated not only in majority Muslim countries; in fact, a recent Pew study found that China had more Muslims than Syria, and Russia a larger total than Jordan and Libya combined.Skip to next paragraph
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Each of the four faces of the Mecca clock, which is still under construction, has a diameter of roughly 130 feet. People 16 miles away will be able to see its lighted face, according to the Associated Press.
Egypt, meanwhile, is keeping time in a rather unorthodox way – turning the clock back an hour so that the Ramadan fast ends earlier in the day. Some Muslims worried that the special Ramadan time zone might violate Islamic law, reported NPR. But most carried on with preparations for nightly feasting that causes Egypt to triple its food consumption during the month – a tradition one Egyptian compared to 30 Christmas Eve dinners.
In New Jersey, school administrators decided to cancel classes on the culminating day of Ramadan – part of a controversial move by 10 of the state’s school districts to incorporate Muslim holidays into the school calendar.
To counter what many see as increasing anti-Islamic sentiment in America, such as that surrounding the ground zero mosque, Muslims at a storefront mosque in the Miami area have decided to broadcast their Friday sermons live.