Ramadan begins in Libya, most other Arab countries, Iran start Thursday

September 12, 2007 20:30

Libya began observing the holy month of Ramadan on Wednesday, but most Mideast countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and the Palestinians said the monthlong fast would begin the following day. According to the Islamic calendar, the lunar month of Ramadan begins with the sighting of the new moon, but with some countries using astronomical calculations and others relying on the naked eye, divergent starting times are often the result. Libya announced Tuesday that the moon had been sighted and the fast would start the next day. Clerics of most other Arab nations, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, however, said that the new moon had not been sighted Tuesday night and so Thursday will be the first day of Ramadan.

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