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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 October 2005, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
In pictures: Ramadan begins
Yemeni man prepares to fire the Ramadan cannon at sunset on Noqum mountain overlooking the capital, Sanaa.
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Hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world are marking the holy month of Ramadan.
Afghan men pray in Kabul
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For the next four weeks, Muslims such as these men in Kabul will fast during daylight hours...
Islamic Cultural Center of New York
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... and gather, like these Muslims in New York, at sunset to share iftar, the meal that breaks the fast.
Bosnian Muslim Imam, Idriz Halilovic, says noon prayer from atop the White Mosque in Srebrenica
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Much of the Muslim world, such as here in Bosnia, began Ramadan on Tuesday after spotting the crescent moon.
An Iraqi Sunni family enjoys iftar in Basra, Iraq
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Tuesday also marked the start of the holy month for Iraqi Sunnis, like this family in Basra.
Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia
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Indonesians and other Muslims in Asia - along with Iraq's Shia - were starting their holy month on Wednesday.
Chairman of the Pakistan Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, looks through binoculars in order to sight the moon in Peshawar
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Pakistan was set to usher in Ramadan on Thursday as the moon was seen later than in other parts of the world.
Palestinian boy lets off fireworks in Shati refugee camp, Gaza city
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This time of spiritual contemplation is also accompanied by fun and frolics at night time, as here in Gaza City, where a child plays with a firework.
Iraqi shopkeeper sells prayer beads in Baghdad
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However the month can also be accompanied by greater violence from extremists. Baghdad is braced after al-Qaeda in Iraq urged an increase in attacks.
Saudis shop at a supermarket in Riyadh
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Saudi Arabia and other countries have also stepped up security amid fears of a spike in militant violence.
Palestinian girl looks on as her father buys toys in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip
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But, despite the threats, streets such as this one in Gaza continue to bustle as families enjoy this festival month.



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