Holy Month Comes to End for East Texas Muslims

Almost 700 people came out Thursday morning for the conclusion of Ramadan, the ninth and most holy month on the Islamic calendar.

Mosque spokesman Anwar Khalifa said, "It's a month that has proscribed to us by God for us to fast from dawn until sunset, from worldly pleasure, drink, and from food."

Services marked the end of the month-long fast, which causes Muslims to focus on the spiritual by conscious denial of the physical. Tyler resident and Muslim Zafer Hatahet explained the experience.

"It really transforms your life. I eat healthier, I'm more patient, much more mellow. I don't get angry when I drive, it's a great experience."

Thursday's "Festival of Fast-Breaking" brought the community together at a time when the faith is under fire due to the possibility of war, and the memory of terrorism. Still, they say a predominantly protestant East Texas still supports them.

"I can tell you," Hatahey said, "We've had more positive responses from people who are supportive who wanted us to know that they are aware that we are not terrorists, they don't lum

"It's our responsibility to make sure that extremists don't speak for us."

Reid Kerr, reporting.