News / Science & Technology

French Muslims Look to Science to Determine Start of Ramadan

Muslims pray during Eid al Fitr prayer marking end of Ramadan in southern France, Aug. 19, 2012Muslims pray during Eid al Fitr prayer marking end of Ramadan in southern France, Aug. 19, 2012
x
Muslims pray during Eid al Fitr prayer marking end of Ramadan in southern France, Aug. 19, 2012
Muslims pray during Eid al Fitr prayer marking end of Ramadan in southern France, Aug. 19, 2012
Reuters
France's Muslim leaders have agreed to end almost 1,400 years of Islamic tradition and use modern astronomy to determine the start of the holy month of Ramadan and other Islamic holidays.
 
The French Muslim Council (CFCM) voted on Thursday to start using astronomical calculations to set the date rather than relying on the naked eye to sight the new crescent moon.
 
Ramadan traditionally begins the morning after the sighting, which has in the past been delayed by a day or even two by weather.
 
Council President Mohammad Moussaoui said the old method played havoc with French Muslims' schedules for work, school and festivities. France's five million Muslims are the largest Islamic minority in Europe.
 
“Now all this will be simplified,'' he said, and promptly announced the Ramadan fast would begin on July 9 this year.
 
Turkey began using scientific calculations to set the start of Ramadan decades ago. Muslims in Germany, who are mostly of Turkish origin, and those in Bosnia also use this method.
 
Muslim minorities elsewhere in Europe often start Ramadan according to its beginning in their countries of origin, or in Saudi Arabia. That can lead to different ethnic groups starting it on different days, even in the same country.
 
“This is historic. Now all Muslims in France can start Ramadan on the same day,'' said Lyon Muslim leader Azzedine Gaci.
 
Muslim scientists have been arguing for using astronomy to determine Islamic dates for years, especially now that globalized communications make it increasingly awkward for different countries to start Ramadan on different days.
 
Complicating the calculations, the Islamic lunar calendar is 10 to 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar developed in Europe, so the dates for Ramadan fall a week and a half earlier as each year in the western calendar passes.
 
Moussaoui said French Muslims were not planning to ask for their holidays to be included in the national calendar.
 
“It would be more important for us that they are taken into consideration, that's all,'' he said.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid