The Islamic Center of Greater Toledo in Ohio has illuminated itself in the colors of the American flag to highlight Muslim Americans’ shared patriotism during the US Independence Day on July 4, Toledo Blade reports.
“We decided to commemorate the celebration with the colored lights; red, white and blue that were installed last May during the holy month of Ramadan,” said Najwa Badawi, the center’s public relations chair.
“The illumination represents that we’d uphold the values in our constitution as Muslim Americans. Islam, in our faith, reinforces one nation under God,” she continued.
Badawi said: “The lights are visible to thousands of cars each night, with its proximate location to main roads. Passing motorists and cars have honked in support of the art work.”
“People seem to really like it. All responses have been positive so far. We’ve received calls at the center thanking us. While the lights’ installation and illumination weren’t cheap. The center’s leaders believe the cost is worth it,” she expressed.
The office will be closed on Thursday for holiday, but the center will remain illuminated that night and each day afterward through Sunday. The Islamic Center also plans to continue the Independence Day Illumination in future years.
Interestingly, the center has been also illuminated in green on the evening of June 3 during `Eid Al-Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan fasting.
Islam in Ohio
Ohio is the USA’s 34th largest state by area, the 7th most populous, and the 10th most densely populated. The state takes its name from the Native American Seneca word for ‘Great River’.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Ohio was 11,689,442 on July 1, 2018, a 1.33% increase since the 2010 United States Census.
According to a Pew Forum poll, as of 2008, 76% of Ohioans identified as Christian. Besides, 17% of the population is atheist, while 1.3% (148,380) were Jewish. At the same time, there are small minorities of Muslims (1%), Hindus (<0.5%), Buddhists (<0.5%) and other faiths (1-1.5%).
According to the same data, a majority of Ohioans, 55%, feel that religion is ‘very important’, 30% say that it’s ‘somewhat important’, and 15% responded that religion is ‘not too important/not important at all’.
Moreover, about 36% of Ohioans indicate that they attend religious services at least once weekly, 35% attend occasionally, and 27% seldom or never participate in religious services.