Muslim community gathers at mosque for first Friday prayer since start of deadly Israel-Hamas war

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Monday, October 16, 2023
Friday prayers in Paterson, NJ focus on conflict in Gaza
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The Friday noon call to prayer in Paterson took new meaning, with many worried about the shocking events half a world away.

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- In Muslim communities across the world, worshippers gathered at mosques for their first Friday prayers since Hamas militants attacked Israel, igniting a deadly war that continues to intensify.

Friday's noon call to prayer in Paterson took on new meaning with many worried about the shocking events half a world away.

Worshippers gathered at the Islamic Center of Passaic County to share news, thoughts, and information concerning friends, relatives and conditions in the Gaza Strip.

"Innocent people died every single day," said Abdallah Ramadan, who is a Palestinian-American. "Everybody goes against us now, but we are the victims. We've been the victim for 75 years."

The imam of this mosque has lost 15 family members in Gaza. But his message to worshippers during this Jummah, or weekly congregational prayer, was to stay strong as the war continues.

"He was speaking about the grief of loss, but that also his family is not more special than any other family in Gaza or even in the West Bank," said Ramsey Abdallah.

The Gaza Strip has been a place of pain for decades, members of the mosque said, and those who live there are determined to survive.

"It's sad," said Aadan Issa. "Seeing all those children going through it, all the moms... not having food or electricity, water... or even internet to talk to others."

This was the first large Friday Muslim prayer since Hamas launched its attack on Israel. But it came with a call to reflect and hold strong to their faith.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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