n a Saturday, May 18, 2019 photo, thousands attend the Ramadan Suhoor Festival in Dearborn Heights, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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The Ramadan Suhoor Festival has a specific purpose beyond the carnival atmosphere and bountiful buffet: It's a chance to gather during the Muslim holy month in which worshippers fast daily from dawn through dusk.Despite its religious underpinnings, and in accordance with Muslim faith, festival organizers also have made one thing clear: Non-Muslims are welcome.And so they all have come -- Muslims and non-Muslims, thousands at a time and collectively in the tens of thousands -- to share suhoor, the early morning meal typically consumed before daily fasting resumes and meant to fuel the many hungry hours after sunrise when neither food nor water may pass a faithful Muslim's lips. Other U.S. communities have large Muslim populations, including those in and around New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. They also have hosted festivals drawing thousands to mark the Eid al-Fitr, or the end of Ramadan. Chami said he launched the festival after seeing food trucks and tents popping up in gas station and strip mall parking lots in recent years during Ramadan. Some Muslims have complained on social media about the festival placing a greater emphasis on food over faith.
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