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Ramadan begins amid concerns over rising costs

 Ramadan begins amid concerns over rising costs
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Muslims throughout the world are preparing for the holy month of Ramadan. Religious authorities in much of the Middle East have declared today the first day of four weeks of fasting and religious observance.

In part of the Old City of Jerusalem, bakers were busy making traditional almond sweets. As a gesture, Israel has also authorised banned Palestinians from the West Bank to attend the al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem for prayers.

They have also given permission for presents to be handed over to the estimated 11,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Meanwhile, in Cairo, many were out shopping for the traditional Ramadan lamps. But some think the credit crunch may have an impact.

“People’s incomes can’t keep up with needing to buy Ramadan supplies,” said one shopkeeper. “Especially with Eid coming up right after, along with the start of the school year.”

Different methods of calculation mean some countries are not starting Ramadan until tomorrow, while Pakistan’s Muslims do not begin their holy month until Thursday.