The Turkish-American Culture and Civilization Center in Maryland will introduce Turkish Ramadan culture to Americans with Quranic recitations, morning prayers, iftars – the evening meal to break the fast – and Tarawih prayers, as well as by placing a mahya – the light post between the two minarets – on a mosque, which will be a first in the U.S. The center's special program will revive traditional Ramadan culture for Turkish migrants and American Muslims.
Extending across 15 acres, the center's construction, managed by Turkey's Presidency of Religious Affairs, will be completed soon. Reminiscent of 16th century Ottoman architecture, the center includes a mosque with two minarets and four minaret balconies. Situated 30 kilometers from Washington, the center will feature a Turkish bath as well. Throughout the month of Ramadan, the center will introduce Islamic culture to Americans and serve Muslims in the region. As part of its program, iftars sponsored by the Turkish business community living nearby will host 350 people each day. Afterward, Tarawih prayers will be recited and Quranic recitations will be arranged after morning prayers. As a traditional symbol of Ramadan, a mahya saying: "Hoşgeldin Ramazan" (Welcome Ramadan), will be placed between the center's two minarets. Religious panels will be held at the center's conference halls throughout the month as well. Don Gaston, 62, a retired mailman who has lived in the neighborhood where the center is for the last 35 years, told that he was greatly influenced by the mosque and expressed his happiness to have such a complex in his neighborhood. Gaston said the center will increase the region's value. "When the complex is completed, the community living here will be happier," he said. The complex's 10 guesthouses are planned to be used as a nursery once construction is complete.
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