Muslims in the Los Angeles area will join millions around the world Sunday in marking the beginning of the monthlong Islamic holiday of Ramadan.
During the observance, which lasts until June 4, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, and engage in increased prayer and charity.
"The fast is performed to increase spirituality, discipline, self-restraint and generosity while obeying God's commandments," said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Top news of the day
The holy month will be welcomed with community service projects and outreach to help those of other faiths get to know the Southern California Muslim community better, he said.
The end of Ramadan will be marked by communal prayers called "Eid ul-Fitr," (eed-al-fitter) or Feast of the Fast-Breaking on or about June 4 (because the beginning of Islamic lunar months depends on the actual sighting of the new moon, the start and end dates for Ramadan may vary among communities).
CAIR-LA representatives plan to visit every mosque in Southern California during the month.
"I pray this month brings with it lots of blessings," Ayloush said.
"Our staff looks forward to meeting many members of the American Muslim community during visits to one of the mosques in Southern California."
CAIR-LA is Southern California's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.