Floyd County, Ky. (WYMT)
For Muslims in Kentucky and across the world, July 10 is the first day of Ramadan.
The fasting period is the holiest month on the Islamic calendar and is triggered by the sighting of the crescent moon.
"The month of Ramadan to me means the month of mercy. It also means family to me, and community,” said Shumyla Azeem.
From dawn to sunset on Ramadan, Muslims avoid food, drinks and other desires in an effort to become close to God
"The idea behind all this fasting is so that you can become close to your creator," said Dr. Syed Badrudduja.
In eastern Kentucky, there is only one house of worship for Muslims, only one: The Islamic Center of Eastern Kentucky. To say their numbers are few may not be a surprise to many but the exact number just might.
“40 families, just imagine...according to the Imam, that's the total amount of Islamic practitioners here in eastern Kentucky,” said WYMT’s Eric Eckstrom during his report.
But community members say the small numbers to not create a sense of isolation.
“No, we don’t feel isolated. I think it's more of a unifying factor,” Azeem
The unity is hard to overlook on the first day of Ramadan. Members of the community say they encourage everyone in the region to get to know them, so they might better understand Islam.
“The meaning of Islam actually means peace…So this is actually a religion of peace,” said Agus Sofyan.
For now, Muslims in eastern Kentucky will be committing their day-to-day lives to God.