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Muslims mark start of Ramadan as deadly conflicts rage

Published on Jun 30, 2014 6:26 AM
Members loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) wave ISIL flags as they drive around Raqqa on June 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) - Muslims began observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan on Sunday with Islamic leaders again concerned about entrenched conflicts as jihadists issued threats from Indonesia to Somalia.

Ramadan is sacred for the world's estimated 1.6 billion Muslims because it is during that month that tradition says the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.

The faithful fast from dawn to dusk, and abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and having sex during that time as they strive to be more pious and charitable.

In that spirit the Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation launched a joint appeal with the Arab League for a ceasefire in Syria, where a deadly conflict has raged unabated for more than three years.

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