Month of good deeds

For Muslims, the fasting month of Ramadan begins on Monday. Believers are advised to fast carefully in the period up to 29. August called on them to refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual intercourse from sunrise to sunset.

The spokesman for the Coordinating Council of Muslims, Aiman Mazyek, said that Ramadan should be used especially for solidarity with the weak and poor in the world.

The chairman of the Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion (DITIB), Ali Dere, announced that in the affiliated mosques in the fasting month the theme "Neighborhood" will be a focus. Turkish and German neighbors, Muslims and non-Muslims would be invited to the mosques and homes for communal meals after sunset. Further the DITIB chairman said, during the Ramadan the already finished part of the mosque new building in Cologne is used. Prayers on Fridays would then seat up to 600 worshippers.

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, as are the profession of faith, daily prayers, the tax on the poor and the pilgrimage to Mecca. Ramadan begins when the crescent moon is first visible after the new moon. It can vary from country to country.

Common time frame
In Germany, the Islamic umbrella organizations united in the Coordination Council have agreed on a common time frame since 2008. "The uniform times led to better integration, especially in schools or public services," Mazyek said.

Ramadan is the month of good deeds and purification of body and soul. Compassion and reconciliation are particularly sought after. The faithful therefore devote themselves especially to prayer, many read the entire Koran during Ramadan. Ramadan ends on 30. August with the feast of breaking the fast, which is similar to the Christian feast of Christmas.

Health minister advises careful fasting
Health Minister Barbara Steffens (Greens) wished all Muslims in North Rhine-Westphalia a blessed Ramadan. "I sincerely hope that you spend this month, which is so holy for you, by the side of your loved ones and, above all, in good health," Steffens said in Dusseldorf on Friday.

Steffens appealed especially to older Muslim men and women to think first of their health in the spirit of Islam. Especially the renunciation of water on particularly hot days can have fatal consequences and bring risks, said Steffens.

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