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Ramadan Prayers and Fasting in Fresno Will Be Shadowed by Thoughts of War in Gaza
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By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 1 month ago on
March 8, 2024

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Many Muslims in Fresno and the world will pray for the people of Gaza while observing Ramadan.

Ramadan is a holy month that commemorates the Prophet Muhammad’s first revelation of the Quran, Islam’s holy book.

My Deen, a local organization for Muslim youth, has a new center, where evening prayers and community meals will be shared.


The war in Gaza will be uppermost in the minds of many Muslims in Fresno and around the world next week as they observe the holy month of Ramadan.

The tradition of fasting daily between sunrise and sunset will take on extra meaning this year in light of how Palestinians in Gaza are being starved of food and water as the conflict rages,

“While we don’t refrain from water and food as an act of unity with people who don’t have, I am sure that when somebody is fasting through the day and they start to get a little bit thirsty or a little bit hungry. a good person is going to remember the thirst and hunger of those in Gaza that are facing famine,” said Reza Nekumanesh, president of the new Prophet Muhammad Center.

“So I’m sure the very act of fasting will have a different taste, with what’s going on.”

Strengthening Connection to God

During Ramadan, the evening prayer takes on special meaning as a “spiritual event,” said Dr. El Sayed Ramadan, imam of the Masjid Fresno Islamic Center on Shaw Avenue.

The traditions of Ramadan, whether it’s prayer, fasting, feasting, or being charitable, help Muslims feel more connected to Allah, he said.

Through their prayers, Muslims can ask God to answer their needs, and the imam said he believes there will be many prayers for peace for all people.

The prayers for peace are “not only for the Muslims, it’s for all the human beings, just to stop this war and to make sure that the lives of the people are being saved,” Imam Ramadan said. “In the Quran, whoever kills an innocent person, it’s as if you killed all of mankind, and whoever saves an innocent life, it’s as if you saved all of mankind.”

Ramadan, which begins either Monday or Tuesday — it depends on the lunar calendar — commemorates the Prophet Muhammad’s first revelation of the Quran, Islam’s holy book. It’s a month of joy and blessings, the month of Muslim victories in battle over the centuries, said Thabet Anani, director of the My Deen center. My Deen is an organization for Fresno’s Muslim youth.

“Ramadan has always been a very blessed month, a month in which God provides. God supports. God is there,” he said.

First Ramadan in New My Deen Center

This Ramadan will be the first for My Deen to hold evening prayers and community meals in its new center near Bullard Avenue and First Street, Anani said.

Feeding others is among the rituals of Ramadan, he said: “When you feed someone, you get the reward as well of their fasting without their reward going away from them, like, everybody gets the reward.”

Ramadan is also a time to be charitable. Nekumanesh says he expects Muslims to continue to target their donations to organizations and funds helping the people of Gaza — as they have been doing since October.

In addition to their financial support, many Muslims are stepping forward to participate in community protests without fearing repercussions as they might have in the past, he said.

Even though there has been an uptick in violence directed towards Muslims as well as Jews in the U.S. since the outbreak of war in Gaza, Nekumanesh said the rise in Islamophobia seems to have inspired Muslims to speak out.

“I’m seeing people who have always worried about their jobs or their school or whatever it may be, and have never been willing to stand up. And they’re all standing up right now,” he said.

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Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

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