Ramadan services held in-person in Chicago area after 2 years of COVID restrictions

OAK BROOK, Ill. (WLS) -- The Friday prayers at the Downtown Islamic Center took place hours ahead of the start of the holy month of Ramadan, a time of self-reflection and self-sacrifice with all-day fasting and helping others.

After two years of COVID restrictions, Ramadan services there and at mosques around the area will be in-person.

Abdullah Mitchell of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago said they're "expecting to once again resume a form of religious services that have been suspended the last two years."

SEE ALSO | What is Ramadan? How Muslims observe holiest month in Islamic calendar

While masks may be required in some places, Muslims are welcomed to worship and break fast together. The Qazi family in Oak Brook is looking forward to seeing more friends and family during the Muslim holiday.

"Two years ago, when we were all locked up in our house, there was no seeing anyone, so although that was a time, when you got more self-reflection, I feel like that pulled away from a lot of the other parts, so I'm pretty excited to see everyone," said Husna Qazi.

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Doctor Baseer Qazi is a gastroenterologist and recalls Ramadan two years ago, when he was using extreme care around his family. Now, he is grateful to be preparing to break fast, called iftar, with relatives and friends.

"Now to come back to where we were pre-COVID, almost, it's been amazing, so I think, a lot gratitude and being thankful," Qazi said.

There may be more iftars at home. Despite COVID restrictions lifting, some mosques are not hosting community iftars, as the pandemic is not over.
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