Dearborn — The line of cars waiting to enter the country’s largest mosque on Saturday morning stretched so far on Ford Road, Dearborn police spent hours containing it to the right lane.

Muslims worldwide celebrated one of their biggest holidays this weekend under the long shadow of the coronavirus, with millions confined to their homes and others gripped by economic concerns during what is usually a festive time of shopping and celebration.

The three-day Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan for the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims. People usually celebrate by traveling, visiting family and gathering for lavish meals — all of which will be largely prohibited as authorities try to prevent new virus outbreaks.

Officials at the Islamic Center of America, the largest mosque in the country, are determined to keep the holiday spirit alive with drive-thru events on Saturday and Sunday, when families are encouraged to attend.

Hundreds waited in line with an open trunk Saturday when the Dearborn mosque kicked off a drive-thru food distribution. Fifty volunteers prepared more than 1,500 food kits to distribute to local families in need during the pandemic. Halal food and produce were donated from Meijer, Dearborn Police Department and 10 additional local supermarkets.

The mosque will host a virtual prayer at 9 a.m. on Sunday to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Instead of heading into their large hall, people will be invited to a drive-thru celebration where children will be able to wave from their cars to their favorite cartoon characters, take photos, and pick up goodie bags for children.

“The Covid-19 pandemic won’t break our spirit,” said ICA President Mazen Chehab. “Although we are not able to come together, pray together or celebrate together — our community is united and strong. Our faith brings us together. Our main goal is keep our community members safe and healthy while still being able to celebrate in some small way.”

Sam Baydoun, a Wayne County commissioner, visited the back parking lot of the mosque to thank volunteers for their effort, saying Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection and giving.

“The Arab American community has been at the forefront during this pandemic, in terms of donating (personal protective equipment) and food to our frontline heroes,” Baydoun said. “The generosity of the Arab American community knows no boundaries and it was clearly demonstrated today. I would like to wish the entire Muslim community Eid Mubarak.”

Associated Press contributed

[email protected]

Twitter: @SarahRahal_

Read or Share this story: