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Muslims participate in the Eid al-Fitr prayer on September 10, 2010 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles.
Thousands of Muslims will gather at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Tuesday morning to kick off Eid al-Fitr, a three-day celebration that marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
In many parts of the world Muslims rely on the new moon to determine the end of the holy holiday, but Jihad Turk of the Islamic Center of Southern California says most Muslims in North America and Western Europe use astronomical calculations instead.
He called the calculations very precise and said, "We actually have a couple of our members who work at JPL, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, who are astronomers and so we’ve had numerous conference calls with them over the last several years to determine exactly when the start and end of each month is.”
Muslims commemorate Ramadan by engaging in prayer and dawn-to-dusk fasting. Turk says Eid al-Fitr is a chance for Muslims to get together with family and celebrate after 29 days of intense spiritual discipline.