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Many Muslims Begin Ramadan Fasting

Pakistani Muslims perform a special "Taraweeh" evening prayer on the first day of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan at a mosque in Karachi on June 6.

Millions of Muslims around the world are marking the start of Ramadan, a month of dawn-to-dusk fasting.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, announced that the new moon of Ramadan was spotted on the evening on June 5 and that the first day of the Muslim holy month would begin there on June 6.

Similar announcements were made in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, as well as in Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, and Afghanistan, among others.

Ramadan also officially began in Central Asian countries on June 6.

Muslims follow a lunar calendar and a moon-sighting methodology that can lead to different countries declaring the start of Ramadan a day or two apart.

During Ramadan, observant Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, and sex from sunrise to sunset for the entire month.

The Ramadan fast is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of those less fortunate.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa