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Muslims in America Celebrate End of Ramadan

Muslims across America gathered in mosques to mark the Eid al Fitr holiday that closes their holy month of Ramadan.

Muslims from around America's capital poured into the Islamic Center of Washington in one of the most elegant parts of the city, known as Embassy Row.

Egyptian law student Youssef Muhammad Auf hurried toward the men's entrance with his mind on what he would ask of God this year.

"Of course, pray [for] my country, the Islamic world, and all human beings - to be safe, peace, and have peaceful relations with every country, especially the United States and the Islamic World," he said.

Eid al-Fitr marks the breaking of the month-long fast of Ramadan. In can last up to three days in some countries.

Auf said it was the first time he spent the holiday outside of his native Egypt.

"The Eid here is totally different from the Islamic world," noted Auf. "Because the day here is a business day. Everything is okay. But in our countries, the Eid means everything. No work. Everyone [is] on vacation, holiday. So it is totally different. But I hope that it will be a good day, insha'allah (God willing)."

This landmark mosque was built in the 1950s and its minaret towers over the posh streets of this diplomatic neighborhood.

Several beggars stood outside the wrought iron gate of the mosque.

One pointed veiled women toward the separate side entrance.

Jamile Ramadan moved to America from Lebanon 14 years ago. She sometimes misses the way the Eid is celebrated in her native country, especially when she is in secular settings.

"There are not a lot of people who are fasting, especially at work," she noted. "You feel you have to accommodate, you have to restrain yourself from the coffee. And it is not as respectful as back home. You feel people ask you, 'You are fasting?' 'It is a myth, why do you do it?'"

A survey of Muslims in the United States released on Eid al Fitr found that while most have assimilated well into American society, many say it has become harder to be a Muslim in America since the September 11, 2001 attacks.