World capitals: (Agencies: 23Rd August, 2009) – Most Muslim countries or Muslim minorities in the West marked the holy fasting month of Ramadan Saturday, August 22.
The new moon sightation committee in Qatar announced on Thursday, August 20, that Saturday, August 22, would be the beginning of Ramadan. All Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman marked the holy occasion also Saturday.
In Egypt, home to Al-Azhar, the highest seat of learning in Sunni Islam, Mufti Ali Gomaa announced in a televised speech that Ramadan was to start Saturday.
Sunni and Shiite religious authorities in Iraq said the fasting was to start Saturday.
Muslims in Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Japan, Australia and Brunei Darussalam were also to start fasting on Saturday.
Ramadan was to start on Saturday in Nigeria, announced the Sultan of Sokoto, the head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.
Organizations representing Muslim minorities in France, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland also confirmed Saturday as the start of Ramadan.
According to the websites of the Muslim Council of Britain and the UK Ruiyate Hilal Committee, Friday was the last day of Sha`baan which means Ramadan was to start Saturday.
The Union for Moroccan Mosques in Netherlands announced that Ramadan was to start Saturday as in most Arab countries.
The Central Mosque in Rome announced that Saturday would be the first day of Ramadan in the European country.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has announced that Ramadan will start in North America on Saturday according to astronomical calculations.
Some countries, including Iran, Bangladesh, Morocco and Mauritania, would be sighting the new moon on Friday, August 21.
Few countries started the Ramadan fast Friday.
Libya said Ramadan was to start Friday based on astronomical calculations.
Shiites in Lebanon were to start the fasting Friday.
Turkey had earlier declared that the holy fasting month would fall on Friday based on calculations. The majority of Muslims in Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Albania, Slovenia and Russia were to follow Turkey.
Germans of Turkish backgrounds, who make up the majority of the Muslim minority, also follow Turkey.
The European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) said Ramadan was to start Friday based on astronomical calculations. The holy fasting month of Ramadan was to sstart in Pakistan on Sunday, announced the provincial governments.
In neighboring India, locals could not spot the new moon of the fasting month.
“Therefore, Saturday will be the last day of Shaaban and Sunday wouldl be the first day of Ramadan,”.
There is no particular official body in India to announce the start of the dawn-to-dusk fasting month.