Samina Ahmed, right, and her daughter, Sana, talk about the food traditionally used to break their fast during Ramadan. Bill Lackey/Staff

Springfield Muslims mark Ramadan, reach out to community

When the members of Springfield’s Masjid Al-Madina Mosque observe the Islamic tradition of Ramadan that begins today, they won’t be keeping it to themselves.

The Miami Valley Islamic Association wants to share with the community and has teamed up with a local church to contribute to a local soup kitchen and present an educational program about its faith.

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The month-long observance of Ramadan includes daily fasting from dawn to dusk and gathering together to pray as a means of self-discipline to create stronger spiritual awareness, according to Imam Yunus Lasania.

“It is a spiritual time where we try our level best to make a connection with God almighty,” he said. “We are very charitable during Ramadan and we’re taking advantage of this to spread goodness to our community.”

The mosque and Champion City Vineyard Church will combine on Saturday, June 3, to create 500 packs of hygiene and food items to donate to the Springfield Soup Kitchen.

“This is our first time partnering with them. They reached out to us and it’s a way to show unity between Christians and Muslims,” said Samina Ahmed, treasurer of Masjid Al-Madina.

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The Soup Kitchen is the mosque’s main charitable project as there is such a huge demand for help, Lasania said.

Ahmed also will present “The Real Islam: A Religion of Peace,” the final program of the 2016-2017 Global Education Speaker Series at Wittenberg University’s Shouvlin Center at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 6.

She’ll discuss misconceptions about Islamsuch as thinking the religion wants to convert everyone to Islam and that terrorists represent it. Ahmed will also share what Ramadan is and offer a better understanding of Islam.

“We’re more alike than different,” she said. “But it’s our differences that make us beautiful. We wouldn’t all want to be exactly the same, would we?”

The actions of terrorists are always troubling. Lasania was particularly distraught over the recent bombing in Manchester, England, at a concert as he’s originally from that area.

“These were teenagers attending a concert and now whole lives have been taken and families are shattered,” he said. “We are against violence and terrorism in all its ugly forms.”

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Lasania, who has been the imam here for 28 years, and Ahmed praised the Springfield community for its support of the mosque and the Miami Valley Islamic Association. Many area leaders have attended services there.

Interfaith cooperation recently attracted the attention of CBS News, which shot footage here for a documentary along with Central Christian Church.

Ramadan concludes June 24 when the congregation enjoys a festival of fast-breaking to celebrate the end of the month-long fasting.

The community is invited to services at 1:30 p.m. Fridays at the mosque, located at 1800 S. Burnett Road. Services take about a half-hour.

“We’re always trying our level best to reach out to the community and it has been very kind to us, which we appreciate,” said Lasania.

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