Some families in Cobb County’s Muslim community celebrated one of the faith’s biggest holidays in an unusual way in light of social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic.
West Cobb Islamic Center, also known as Masjid al-Furqan, normally observes Eid al-Fitr with large congregational prayers for men and women, followed by a message from the resident imam and fun activities for children, like a petting zoo. To mark the end of the Ramadan fasting season, people traditionally have an Eid, or feast, with family and friends.
This year, since the mosque has been closed to visitors since March, its leaders invited worshipers to a special Eid service from inside their cars.
The mosque gave guidelines for families to pray at home, and then attendees drove to the church to hear a message from guest speaker Bashir Mundi. About 200 people who attended the drive-in received gift boxes, which, in addition to directions to watch the message on Facebook Live, included desserts and a raffle ticket for prizes.
“Even though we don’t have that many events going on, we can do something so the community feels that they are still coming together,” said Fadi Ali, an administrator at the mosque. “It’s different. Maybe this is the new normal, but we want people to still feel comfortable that they’re coming to their house of worship.”
Students who had recently graduated high school were given special recognition. Their names were read out on a microphone upon their arrival.
One of those graduates was Oumou Oued, who graduated from McEachern High School.
“It’s different, but there’s still a sense of community,” Oued said of the drive-in event. “We’re doing social distancing, but we’re all still together as a family.”
Another member of the mosque, Uzma Khokher, said she normally hosts about 150 people at her house for Eid, and last year had nearly the whole mosque community. Her family’s car was decorated with large balloons, flowers, ribbons and a sign reading “Eid Mubarak,” or “blessed Eid.”
“I’m missing my community,” Khokher said. “This year, I’m kind of sad because nobody can go, nobody can come to my home. But still I’m going to cook some food and distribute some (to people in need.)”
Ali said that, as state and federal guidelines change, the mosque leaders hope to reopen for in-person worship soon, but will do so in a limited capacity, encouraging physical distance between people praying and other precautions.