Hundreds of Muslim Americans gather in Times Square for first Iftar of Ramadan
Over 1,000 Muslims broke their first Ramadan fast this year in New York City on Saturday, on the pavements of the bustling thoroughfare of Times Square.
Some 1,500 meals were distributed for the first Iftar of the month to Muslims who had travelled from as far as Montreal to attend the event.
Excerpts from the Quran were recited and organisers made speeches about the meaning of observances during the holy Islamic month.
"We're here to explain our religion to all those that don't know what Islam is all about," said organiser and influencer SQ to CBS news. "Islam is a religion of peace."
The event was organised over social media and advertised as the "first-ever Taraweeh prayer in Times Square".
Taraweeh is an additional nighttime prayer undertaken by Muslims in a Sunni tradition that dates back to the practices of the Prophet Mohammed.
Some social media users were concerned that the intense surroundings of Times Square would not be conducive to reflection and prayer.
One Twitter user commented saying: "There are billboards everywhere, music is common there? surely there is a better place to pray… going to the local mosque sounds better!"
Others were concerned over the safety of Muslims gathering for the high-profile display of religious observance, as Islamophobic attacks in the US have shown to be worryingly common.
Speaking hopefully about improving inter-faith relations in the US, event co-organizer Ali Camara said: "You work with these people. You take the train with these people. We are all really one."