Ramadan 2015: As holy month approaches, debate emerges over how long northern European Muslims should fast
Source: The Independent
As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approaches, and British Muslims prepare for four weeks of fasting during daylight hours, a perennial debate on changing the Ramadan observance times in northern regions has sprung up again.
Dr Usama Haswan, an Islamic researcher from anti-extremism group Quilliam, has said that it would make more sense for Muslims in the UK to follow Mecca timings, as daylight lasts much longer this far north than it does in the Middle East.
Muslims at the East London Mosque break their fast after a long day of no food or water. In Mecca, daylight during Ramadan usually lasts from around 12 to 13 hours. In the southern part of the UK, it typically lasts around 16 hours or more, and the timings mean that observers will have to wake up at around 4am if they want to eat in the morning.
As the start of Ramadan is based on the first sighting of the new moon, it comes earlier and earlier each year. For the last few years, however, it has occurred during summer, meaning a much longer fasting time. This year, Ramadan will begin on 18 June.