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In Brief

U.S. Muslims Gather for Iftar at Halal Restaurant

29 June 2012

Muslim families beneath elaborately fringed tents inside restaurant (Sandy Huffaker)

When U.S. Muslims observe Ramadan, they often visit halal restaurants — which serve food prepared according to Islamic dietary laws — for iftar, the post-sundown meal that breaks Ramadan’s daily fast. Ali Baba, a halal restaurant near San Diego, serves iftar underneath tents that evoke old Baghdad.

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, when the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, and it begins in July this year. During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating or drinking from dawn to sunset, breaking their fast after sundown with a meal known as iftar. In the United States, restaurants serving halal food — which is prepared in accordance with Islamic dietary laws — are a popular choice for iftar customers.

Here, family groups enjoy iftar at the Ali Baba halal restaurant in El Cajon, California. Located near San Diego, Ali Baba specializes in Mediterranean food, and its interior, decorated with elaborately fringed tents, evokes the feeling of old Baghdad. Othman Kalasho, owner of Ali Baba, says the restaurant employs a well-known Iraqi chef and works hard to make everyone feel welcome.

For more, see the photo gallery “Serving Iftar Across America.”