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Montana Muslims mark Ramadan

Abrim Masood, Ph.D., LCPC
Montana State University Billings

Ambrin Masood, Ph.D., LCPC

On March 11th, millions of Muslims worldwide began celebrating the holy month of Ramadan.

Yellowstone Public Radio’s Orlinda Worthington talked with one member of the Islamic religion about observing the High Holy month in a state with only 200 practicing Muslims.

Communal prayers are being recited by Muslims around the world right now, the exact same prayers offered by Muslims in Montana.

Dr. Ambrin Masood recites one of five prayers Muslims offer five times a day, everyday. She is one of a handful in Billings who practice the Islamic religion.

“It’s almost the same as Christianity and Judaism. We call Christians and Jews as people of the book. We all share the same book. Muslims are the followers of Islam. And, Islam basically means surrendering to the will of God,” Masood said.

Dr. Masood is a professor of Mental Health and Rehabilitation Counseling at MSUB. She’s been in the United States 27 years.
"People here I've found in Montana, they've been really nice at least to me, to us.”

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sundown. It is the will of Allah, or God. Masood says some used to question her about that practice, saying it seemed like punishment. She laughs now citing current research that shows intermittent fasting to be beneficial.

“That is the diet plan actually, which is just amazing to me. The main thing is that when we fast spiritually, we feel like we're not thinking of food or water all the time. So we are kind of more in connection with the universe. And also there's more empathy for people who are undergoing starvation,” Masood said.

The Billings Islamic Center recently purchased their own, larger space. A place to have meals together and participate in communal prayer.

“In that moment you know in your heart that you are surrendering to the highest power in the universe, you are not alone. And that is the best feeling,” Masood remarked.

In Billings, I’m Orlinda Worthington.

Orlinda Worthington hosts “Morning Edition” weekdays on YPR. She brings 20 years of experience as Montana television news anchor, producer, and reporter.