People gathered in Times Square Sunday to celebrate the first night of Ramadan.

“It allows us to connect with the community — those who are food insecure — and understand their feelings and develop more empathy for those who don’t have,” said Sohail Qureshi, the organizer of the event.

What You Need To Know

  • Dozens of people gathered in Times Square Sunday to pray during the first night of Ramadan
  • Organizers of the event said that during Ramadan, fasting teaches Muslims about how it feels to not know where the next meal is coming from
  • This year’s holiday is somber with the Israel-Hamas war raging on for more than five months
  • Khadijah Fajry attended Sunday to get a sense of community, since Fajry's family is across the world

The month-long holiday is a time for Muslims to celebrate their faith, connect with their religion and do good deeds.

During Ramadan, many Muslims observe a strict fast from dawn until sunset and recite the Quran.

This Ramadan is more emotional for many, as the Israel-Hamas war rages on.

“This Ramadan is hurting us a little more because of our brothers and sisters in Palestine,” Qureshi, who goes by SQ, said.

Khadijah Fajry from Long Island City has family in France and Morocco. Being in Times Square Sunday gave her a sense of community with her family being across the world.

“It’s special to be here in New York in Times Square and gather all together — all Muslims from all parts of the world,” Fajry said.

People praying Sunday said they want to spread nur, which is a term for light.

Sunday's event has been a tradition for some since it started three years ago.

Muhammad Abdul-Aleem has not missed one yet.

“We are going to use this opportunity to pray for all of those who are oppressed — those who are in need,” Abdul-Aleem said.