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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We have entered the holiest month of the year for Muslims, but this year, the way the faithful celebrate looks much different.

Mosques all over the Twin Cities have adjusted their services since many families will be staying home and praying.

Normally, the Nusrat Mosque in Coon Rapids is bustling with people this time of year. Now, it’s empty.

But the Ahmadiyya Muslim community isn’t letting COVID-19 get in the way of worship.

“We keep doing what we were doing previously, in a virtual way,” Imam Luqmam Ahmad said.

“It’s very different and we are trying to make best out of it, but quite different from the past. We have never experienced it like this,” said Kamal Ahmed, director of public affairs.

Since the community can’t physically come together, they are gathering online.

“Every day we are having a virtual Ramadan Iftar, where we will maybe Facetime with each other and other technology we will use, and all of the community comes together to feel like we are together physically also,” Ahmed said.

In fact, they’ve noticed more people getting involved.

“Now more and more people can participate. They don’t have to travel, they don’t have to take off or things like that, or kids have no school, so there is no reason not to attend it,” Ahmed said. “Actually our participation has increased a lot and people are feeling people are feeling more connected by this technology.”

So even though it seems nothing is normal, the community is making the most of the situation.

“We are filling the gap that has been created by this pandemic so are keeping our distance but our hearts are closer than before,” Ahmed said.

The Mosque in Coon Rapids will still be open for individual prayer.

The community is going to host a public Iftar, that’s when Muslims break fast at sundown, for both muslims and non-muslims on Saturday, May 9. This year, it will be held virtually as well.

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Katie Steiner

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