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Holy nights across the world


September 25, 2008
Since September 2, most of the 1.5 billion Muslims around the globe -- one-fifth of the world's population -- have been marking the ninth and holiest month of the Muslim calendar (Hijri) calendar with special prayers and rigorous dawn to dusk fasting which is an act of faith that brings them closer to god.

The Muslim community, or ummah, spreads across several countries and oceans and many ethnic groups and each of these unique communities has its own customs and traditions for honouring Ramzan.

Image: A Thai boy reads the Koran during Ramzan at the central mosque in Yala in southern Thailand. During Ramzan Thailand's Malay-speaking Muslim population break their fast with kuih which is the Malay term for a series of snacks (a bit like Middle Eastern mezze or Spanish tapas) that can be sweet and whose main ingredients are often coconut cream and pandan leaves (screwpine).

Thai Muslims once used to cross the border into Malyasia during Ramzan to break their fasts and partake of kuih. But more varieties of kuih are now available in southern Thailand these days.
Photographs: Muhammad Sabri/AFP/Getty Images

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