Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ramadan to start for Iraqi Sunnis on Thursday, Shiites on Friday

Above: The beginning of Ramadan is determined by the first sighting of the new crescent moon in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, commemorating the month during which the Quran was revealed. During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to fast during the day, and to put maximum effort into following the teachings of Islam as well as refraining from anger, envy, and greed. However, violence has increased each Ramadan since the U.S. invasion.

Iraq's minority Sunni Arab community will begin observing Ramadan -- Islam's holiest period -- from Thursday, followed a day later by the majority Shiites, top clerics said.

Sheikh Ahmad Abdul Ghafur al-Sammaraie, the head of Sunni religious endowment in Iraq, said the Sunni Arabs in the war-ravaged country would observe Ramadan from Thursday.

"The legal committee for observing the crescent has decided that Thursday is the first day of Ramadan," Sammaraie said in a statement.

Iraq's Shiites, who are a minority in the Muslim world but make up the majority in Iraq, will observe the holy period from Friday, according to the office of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the seniormost Shiite cleric.

"The office of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani expects that the crescent will be observed late Thursday and Friday will be the first day of Ramadan," a statement from Sistani's office said.

Read the rest at Yahoo News

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