Source: The Houston Chronicle
On December 23, 2000, The Houston Chronicle reported that Ramadan is a way for orthodox Muslims and followers of the Nation of Islam to bury their differences. "Orthodox Muslims have long spurned Nation of Islam followers as 'not real Muslims,' for - among other reasons - insisting on observing Ramadan in December instead of when it descends according to the lunar calendar...But Nation of Islam founder, the late Elijah Muhammad, justified the December fast by explaining that the group's members were not 'mature enough in Islam' to observe the fast in its proper time. They were spiritually ill and on a spiritual journey from Christianity to Islam, thus giving them the right to compensate the fasting days at the time of their choice. Muhammad chose December, because the days were shorter and easier to fast, and also to give his followers their own identity amid the Christian festivities. But in 1998, when Ramadan began around Christmastime, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said the followers had matured and instructed them to observe the fast with the rest of the Muslim world, said Eric Muhammad, the group's assistant minister in Houston." Local leaders from both sides held evening prayers together for the first time last week and will break fast together on Saturday. There are also plans to celebrate the end of Ramadan together this year.