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International healthcare customers considering relocating abroad to Muslim countries may wish to ensure they have full knowledge of the customs for Ramadan.
In Indian-controlled Kashmir, this began on Tuesday August 2nd, when the crescent moon rose, Chinese state press agency Xinhuanet.com reports.
"We stop eating and drinking before the dawn call to prayer and are not supposed to break the fast until the fourth call to prayer at dusk is called," Farooq Ahmad Sheikh was quoted as saying by the news source.
Drinking, eating, smoking and marital relations are abstained from by members of the Islamic faith from sunrise until dusk.
Californian expat Cassie Williams, a political activist in Abu Dhabi, is enjoying her first Ramadan in a Muslim country.
"The atmosphere is festive and lively. People share greetings wishing each other a blessed and happy Ramadan month," she wrote in the Huffington Post.
Non-Muslims ought to be aware of the fast, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised.
Some eating establishments – such as hotels and restaurants – will utilise barriers to shield western diners from local people, but others may be closed or have different opening hours to accommodate the religious festival.
Smoking, drinking, eating and chewing gum should be avoided in public, as "people will understand that you aren't under the same obligation to fast but will appreciate your awareness", the FCO noted, although this behaviour may actually be illegal in certain nations.
When the fast is broken – a time called Iftar – many Muslims enjoy eating a meal with friends or their family. This can strain taxi and public transport services, so the organisation advised people to "avoid having to travel at this time".
Furthermore, the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, which lasts three days and marks the end of Ramadan, can also result in problems travelling, the FCO added.
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