(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Carrying a message of mercy to their community, Ohio Muslims have gathered this week to offer free food, medical checks and clothing to the poor and needy during the holy month of Ramadan in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati.
"Volunteers from across the Tri-State have served a hot meal to about 400 low-income people at this event each year since 2003," Karen Dabdoub, director of the Cincinnati office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Ohio (CAIR-Cincinnati), said in a press release obtained by OnIslam.net.
Muslims gathered at the 10th Annual Sharing Ramadan in Over-the-Rhine on Sunday, July 22, to feed the needy people in the city.
Starting from noon to 2 pm, fasting Muslims combined their efforts to provide a hot meal, free health checks, non-perishable food items and clothing to people in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati.
Ramadan is the holiest month in Islamic calendar.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
The sick and those traveling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks.
Fasting is meant to teach Muslims patience, self-control and spirituality, and time during the holy month is dedicated for getting closer to Allah though prayers, reading the Noble Qur’an and good deeds.
During Ramadan, Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through prayer, self-restraint and good deeds.
It is customary for Muslims to spend part of the days during Ramadan studying the Noble Qur'an.
US Muslims celebrated the start of the holy fasting month on Friday, July 20, making it the first time for Ramadan in 30 years to come in mid July.
The Muslim community holds regular events to help the poor and needy in the city under the teachings of their faith.
"The Cincinnati Muslim community regularly feeds people in this neighborhood during Ramadan and every Friday and Sunday during the year" Dabdoub said.
Although there are no official figures, the United States is believed to be home to between 6-8 million Muslims.
Since the 9/11 attacks, US Muslims have complained of discrimination and stereotypes because of their Islamic attires or identities.
Despite the frenzy, they seized the opportunity to introduce the true message of Islam, through activism.
Extending new bridges into the community, new groups were established, such as American Muslim Voice, founded by Samina Sundas of Palo Alto.
There is also the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which was founded to help Muslims engage with their neighbors in civic life.
A Muslim program, Day of Dignity, was also introduced nationwide seven years ago, aiming at serving homeless and vulnerable Americans, whether Muslim or not.
Every year, the nation-wide effort aims to serve more than 20,000 homeless and people in need in 15 cities throughout the United States.
People receive health screenings, free food, and a variety of goods depending on their particular city.