Ottawa

Faithful drive in to mark Eid at Ottawa Mosque

Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, and for the second year in a row, Ottawa's oldest mosque is bending tradition to satisfy COVID-19 protocols.

Worshipers observe end of Ramadan while also observing COVID-19 protocols

Driven to worship: Hundreds of vehicles converged on the Ottawa Mosque for three ceremonies held Thursday morning. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, and for the second year in a row, Ottawa's oldest mosque is bending tradition to satisfy COVID-19 protocols.

On Thursday morning, the Ottawa Mosque near Tunney's Pasture welcomed hundreds of carloads of worshippers to three drive-in gatherings to observe the holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan and the dawn-to-dusk fasting that's an integral part of the holy month.

"It's the faithful finish," said Mohammed Adi, president of the Ottawa Muslim Association. "You've got a month full of you practising faithfully and getting closer to your God, and this is a celebration."

Mohammed Adi, president of the Ottawa Muslim Association, said it's been difficult for community members who haven't been able to gather during the pandemic. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

Adi said not being able to gather for Ramadan has taken its toll on the community.

"People come to the mosque to vent, to relax, and they haven't been doing that for the whole month. So this is their opportunity, and we're going to give that to them." he said 

That sentiment was shared by those in attendance Thursday. 

"I think for the last one year and four or five months, everybody's depressed and we are at home working from home," said Amjad Ali. "So this is very important from both the perspective [of] religion as well as [mental health]."

In order to stick to COVID-19 protocols, worshipers were asked to stay in their vehicles, where they were able to tune into the prayers on their car radios.

Volunteers also went from vehicle to vehicle to collect donations and hand out toys for the children. 

Razan Abulzahab said she and her daughter Maryam Razan are happy just to be able to celebrate Eid in the proximity of others. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

Razan Abulzahab said to her, all that mattered was that community members were able to celebrate together, even if it was from the confines of their own vehicles.

"When I see the people here [and] I heard the Takbir (a phrase used in prayer), it's the same for me," he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Natalia is a multi-platform journalist in Ottawa. She has also worked for CBC in P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.

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