September 23, 2006

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(Montreal, Quebec, Sept. 23, 2006) - Muslims in Canada, as well as in many countries worldwide, will begin the month-long fast of Ramadan on either Saturday the 23rd or Sunday the 24th, depending on when the new moon is sighted. Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, during which Muslims are prescribed to abstain from food, drink and conjugal relations from dawn to sunset.

“Ramadan is both a spiritual and joyful occasion for Muslims,” said Salam Elmenyawi, President of the Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM). “It is a time to feed the soul, instead of feeding the body. Muslims spend their time worshipping God, giving thanks for their blessings and helping others.”

“This is also a good opportunity for Canadians to learn more about Islam and Muslims, and to build bridges in the community. People of all faiths should feel free to come visit the many mosques in Montreal and partake in the Ramadan celebrations.”

Fasting, along with the declaration of faith, daily prayers, alms giving, and the pilgrimage to Mecca, is one of the five pillars of Islam. The fast is broken at sunset, by a meal called iftar.

The end of Ramadan is marked by the celebration of the Islamic holiday Eid-al-Fitr. This is one of the two major celebrations of the Islamic year.