For Muslims in San Francisco, Eid is a time to reflect and rejuvenate

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The San Francisco Bay Area has one of the largest Muslim communities in the United States. Father of two Muhammad Ali says Eid is a time to share with loved ones and spends his holiday in prayer and celebratory gatherings of family and friends.

Mr Ali lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay Area, a place with one of the biggest Muslim communities in the United States.

In a country traumatised by the shooting of five servicemen in Tennessee last week, it is a reminder that for American Muslims, this is a time for spiritual rejuvenation and peaceful reflection.

His Eid break, he says, is a “jam-packed day full of activities”. It begins with Eid and Friday morning prayers at the Muslim Community Association (MCA) in Santa Clara, followed by an Eid carnival with family and friends.

The non-profit MCA is one of the largest Islamic centres in the US and hosts more than 3,000 people on a typical Friday.

Mr Ali, the chief executive of Tycho Insurance Services, takes his two children, aged 13 and 19, and his wife to the association for all major events and special occasions.

For ordinary prayers at other times, he visits his local musalla – the outdoor area in the grounds of a mosque – in Mountain View and Palo Alto.

As it is for millions of Muslims around the world, Eid is about spending time with loved ones.

Mr Ali says: “I have made it a point to take this as holiday and spend it with family. Children need to understand that this is a Muslim celebration.

“It is a time to reflect on life, connect back with the creator and to get away from the rat race for a while. It rejuvenates one spiritually, and recharges.”

All photos: Sammy Dallal for The National