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Many Muslims around the world begin Ramadan under lockdown

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By Daniel Bellamy  with AP
Many Muslims around the world begin Ramadan under lockdown
Copyright  AP

Islam's holy month of fasting has begun for around 1.8 billion Muslims around the world.

During Ramadan, adults refrain from either eating or drinking during daylight hours. They also can't smoke or engage in any sexual activity.

But in Islam, no one who is ill is expected to fast and if and when they return to health they can begin fasting to make up for missing Ramadan.

This year fasting under lockdown and in the midst of a global pandemic will be a unique experience and the atmosphere of spiritual celebration will be muted.

In many countries Muslims are no longer able to worship in mosques.

Instead they remain isolated and many communal rituals that are so integral to the holy month won't be performed.

Families and friends normally gather at sundown for iftar, the special meal that breaks the daily fast.

But in Morocco citizens will be "formally prohibited from traveling outside their home or on the public highway" between 7:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. local time, the Interior Minister said on Thursday.

Traditionally, during Ramadan, Moroccans go out in crowds in the streets after breaking the fast to go to the mosque, have a coffee or take a walk in the streets, as they do in many Muslim countries.