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Muslims Prepare to Celebrate Holy Month of Ramadan

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Muslims around the world are awaiting the sighting of the crescent moon to begin fasting for Islam's holy month of Ramadan.

Muslims observe the ninth month of the lunar Islamic calendar by abstaining from eating, drinking and sexual relations from dawn until sunset.  The holy month is expected to begin Wednesday or a day later, depending on the sighting of the moon the night before.

This year Ramadan begins amid scorching temperatures in the Middle East and elsewhere, with the first six months of 2010 being the warmest ever recorded.

The month marks the time more than 1,400 years ago when Muslims believe the words of Islam's holy book, the Koran, were revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.  Muslims celebrate the month with family visits, invitations to iftars and shared meals that break the fast.

Ramadan will conclude in September with a celebration called Eid al-Fitr.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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