Balkans: Muslims agree on Ramadan date

In a show of unity, Muslim religious authorities in Bosnian, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia have agreed to observe the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan on September 1.

"We follow astronomical calculations to determine the beginning of the lunar months," Subhi Wassim, an official with the Islamic Sheikdom of Bosnia, told

"Therefore, the first day of Ramadan will be observed in Bosnia on September 1," he added.

Muslims make up nearly 40 percent of Bosnia's 3.8 million population.

During Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

Neighboring Serbia's nearly half a million Muslim will start the dawn-to-dusk fast on the same day as Bosnia.

"We consider ourselves part of the Islamic institution in Bosnia and coordinate with them in all things," said Hajrudin Balic, a media officer of the Islamic Sheikdom of Serbia.

The Islamic Sheikdom in Croatia will also follow neighboring Bosnia in observing the beginning of Ramadan, said sources in the Islamic Sheikdom of Bosnia.

Moon sighting has always been a controversial issue among Muslim countries, and even scholars seem at odds over the issue.


Muslims who make up 33 percent of Macedonia's two million population will follow Turkey in determining the start of Ramadan.

"The Islamic Sheikhdom of Macedonia and Dar al-Ifta in Turkey have an agreement to unify all Islamic occasions according to astronomic calculations," Afrim Alija, a teacher in a school affiliated to the sheikdom, told IOL.

Turkey's Presidency of Religion Affairs, the country's highest religious institution, has announced on its website that Ramadan will fall on September 1.

The Islamic sheikhdom of Slovenia, where Muslims make up 2.4 percent of two million population, agrees with Turkey and Bosnia on the start of the fasting month.

Montenegro Mufti Jusuf Gjoken said the country's 140,000 Muslims, who constitute up to 20 percent of the population, will coordinate with both Bosnia and Turkey on Ramadan start.

"We are living in neighboring countries and it would be wrong to disagree on the beginning of the fast," he told IOL.

"The unity of Muslims in the Balkan is a top priority to all Islamic sheikhdoms in the region."

Source: IslamOnline (English)

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