COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Practicing Muslims in the Chattahoochee Valley gathered to commemorate the end of Ramadan, a holy month that has been marked by several terrorist attacks overseas, along with the deadly Orlando nightclub shooting.
Members gathered at Masjid Al-Nur in Columbus spent the last 30 days fasting, reducing their intake of food and water each day, as part of Ramadan, which ended Tuesday, July 5.
Wednesday, July 6 marked the beginning of Eid, a three-day period recognizing the efforts each member of the community has given throughout the month.
The mosque's leader Imam Yahya Islam said Ramadan is a time for a person to practice self-control and compassion for others.
"[It's about] self-restraint," Islam said. "Being able to identify the others who have less than you have. You see the beggar on the street - now, you don't say that's a bum. You're compassionate because that's somebody's father, somebody's brother, somebody's mother."
Members of Masjid Al-Nur say there's also been compassion in the wake of several terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Turkey - all taking place during Ramadan.
Farhad Ali Farhani, a board member of Masjid Al-Nur, said the Muslim community in Columbus wants everyone to know they want peace amongst all their neighbors.
"We have a common enemy. These are just some criminals, and we all have to work together to be able to overcome this problem," Farhani said.
Farhani said the members of the mosque acknowledge they've overcome barriers and perceptions to grow as a faith community in Columbus. He said now they celebrate the holy month of Ramadan without fear.
In fact, Farhani said, Muslims here say they've seen a growing relationship with other faith groups in town.
"We have unity services together, and we work together for the advancement of the community," Farhani said. "A good relationship and support."
Imam Islam, Ali Farhani, and other mosque members said they want people to know they value the ability to openly practice their religion while also striving constantly to be good citizens, professionals, educators and students in the city.