VILLA PARK, IL – The tranquil, standstill air at the Islamic Foundation in suburban Chicago wasn’t indicative of the events about to transpire just moments later. On the evening of Sunday, October 26, one could not expect any force to break the serenity and peaceful vacancy that filled the halls and rooms of the 15 year-old masjid. However through years of experience, Islamic Foundation’s staff knew all too well about the phenomenon about to take place.
On the horizon of the parking lot, a throng of people were visible and could be seen advancing closer and closer as the ground thumped with every step.
An event which has attracted locals and law enforcement alike, the Annual Running of the Muslims begins every year just at the start of Ramadan.
On a normal day, the Masjid is relatively quiet and not many people are seen inside.
“They wait for moon news, and if we see moon, fine… it’s Ramadan. Then they come running in like masjid going out of business sale,” explains Islamic Foundation’s director Malik Sultan.
Among the audience was 35 year old Judith Boyer who lives just down the street from the Islamic Foundation.
“With the economy being so bad, we couldn’t afford to go to Spain so I said ‘Honey let’s go check us out some stampeding Moslems.'”
Omar Azim participated in the run last year and noted that the experience was exhilarating.
“It’s like your running and sometimes you want to stop, but you can’t because there are people behind you,” said the nineteen year old Azim.
“I couldn’t tell what was happening or where I was going. I looked up to find myself running next to a stampeding sheep in the sister’s section.”
This year’s numbers indicated a record turnout and was a huge success according to Islamic Foundation’s staff.