In the midst of public debate about building a Muslim community center near ground zero in New York City, Muslim Americans are fasting quietly through their holy month of Ramadan. From dawn to dusk, they do not eat or drink anything -- not even water -- as they work alongside non-Muslims in offices, laboratories, classrooms, hospitals, storefronts. When the sun sets, they break their fast with prayer, a few sips of water and a handful of dates.
The Portland area is home to an estimated 10,000 Muslims. "They are hardworking individuals whose faith and strong ethical values drive their work ethic," says Wajdi Said, president and co-founder of the Muslim Educational Trust in Tigard. "Some are affiliated with mosques ... others are not." Most choose to practice their faith outside the spotlight, he says
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