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Township recognizes Ramadan and Eid al-Fitrat

It’s the first time Mt. Laurel has acknowledged the Muslim holidays.

Council members recognized Ramadan and Eid al fitr with a proclamation at their regular meeting on April 18.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is recognized as the religion’s  most sacred month. The sighting of a crescent moon — which can occur at any point during the year — heralds the start of the holiday month. Muslims follow a lunar calendar that consists of 12 months in a year of 354 or 355 days. 

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Observant Muslims will refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk, and  traditionally gather with family and friends to break their fast in the evening, known as  Iftar. The Ramadan fast is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam, and its end is celebrated as one of the important religious holidays of Islam, according to a township release announcing the proclamation. 

The festival of Eid al fitr commemorates the end of the month-long Ramadan fasting and is celebrated with friends, family, and neighbors. 

Councilwoman Fozia Janjua read a proclamation commending the contributions of  Muslim Americans at the meeting.

“Whereas Ramadan reminds us that Islam has always been a part of America and Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country,” the proclamation read. “Mount Laurel Township joined with the Muslims around the world celebrating Ramadan and Eid al-fitr this year.”

Janjua also noted that the proclamation marks the first time the township has acknowledged a Muslim holiday.

“For the first time in its 150-year history, Mount Laurel has recognized a Muslim holiday, she said. “When people from different backgrounds are able to not only respect each other’s personal practices and cultures, but celebrate them together, our community becomes more tight knit and strong.”

In the same township release, Mayor Kareem Pritchett said council wants to create a welcoming community for all residents.

“We strive to make Mount Laurel a township where everyone feels welcome to celebrate their rich traditions,” he added. “Muslim Americans are an integral part of our community in Mount Laurel, so to be able to recognize such an important month and holiday for the first time is something the township and council was excited to do.”

Council also approved a resolution during the meeting to establish the township as a “stigma-free zone” for mental-health awareness.

The next council meeting is scheduled for May 9.

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