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Montgomery County Officials Join Community for Ramadan Celebration

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American Muslim communities bore the brunt of the public's anger following the 9-11 attacks in 2001 and now eight years later the anniversary coincides almost perfectly with the conclusion of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Some Muslims in Montgomery County, Maryland say things have changed significantly since then.

Its certainly not the first time since 9-11 that the end of Ramadan has been celebrated in Montgomery County, but it was the first time that the county executive, Ike Leggett in this case, spoke at a public celebration.

"Muslim Americans are not just a part of our diversity," Leggett said. "They are a part of who we are as a community."

Area native Khalil Abu Asmaa --who converted to Islam 15 years ago talked about the meaning of fasting during Ramadan and led traditional prayers.

He says America's Muslim community has grown closer and has engaged in more outreach in the years following the attacks.

"Because of circumstances and how horrible of an event it was," Amsaa said, "it did lead to other things that were something beautiful."

The Montgomery County Muslim Council organized the event and its president, Saquiba Ahmed, says elected officials paid only lip service to local Muslims before 9-11, but now are trying to engage with it.

"I think this type of gathering would have been possible before, but it wasn't a priority," she said.

Ahmed says the Muslim Council's next goal for Montgomery County is to have the final day of Ramadan observed as an official school holiday.

Jonathan Wilson reports...

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