St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message
 

Fasting ends but charity, goodwill continue

Muslims everywhere celebrate the end of Ramadan with a three-day feast.

By VANESSA DE LA TORRE
Published November 3, 2005


[Times photo: James Borchuck]
Hundreds of Muslims gathered to pray Thursday at the Ronald Forbes Recreation Center in Pinellas Park. The prayers, which mark the end of Ramadan, begin the Eid ul-Fitr, or "feast of fast breaking" holiday in which Muslims seek to strengthen bonds of brotherhood in the community.

During the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Buba Barrow felt the hunger of the less fortunate. He learned to be compassionate and stave off cravings for bread, water and even sensual pleasure.

"No eat, no food, no nothing. For a whole day. From dawn to dusk," said Barrow, 48, owner of a St. Petersburg construction company.

But on Thursday morning, least 400 Muslims gathered at Forbes Recreation Center in Pinellas Park to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr, the three-day feast marking the end of Ramadan. Barrow came with his wife Mariam and two young daughters, all dressed in their finest white garments.

Last year the group prayer was held on a baseball field at nearby Helen Howarth Park, when during the middle of worship the clouds shifted. Rain poured and everyone was soaked, said Munaf Kapadi, an organizer with the Islamic Society of Pinellas County. But they kept on praying.

Thursday's sermon reminded followers of Allah's command to stick to the right path. Women stayed at the back of the gymnasium, wearing Islamic veils over bowed heads so "men can concentrate on the prayer," said Omar Abdul-Shakir of St. Petersburg.

Tariq Toubeh, 27, wore brand new clothes for the occasion, choosing a yellow plaid shirt with black pants. Islamic tradition, he said, called for it: "Look your best, show your happiness."

Abdul-Shakir calls himself a former "heretic," raised in a Protestant household where his parents disallowed him from questioning their faith. Then, at age 39, he met a group of Muslims who answered all his questions, said Abdul-Shakir. Now he celebrates another end of Ramadan.

"The fasting stops, but the charity and the goodwill and good deeds to each other must continue," he said.

[Last modified November 3, 2005, 18:18:31]


Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT