Canadian Muslims begin Ramadan

-For Immediate Release-

(Ottawa – June 6, 2016) Muslims in Canada and around the world today have started observing the holy month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and intimacy from the break of dawn until sunset. Fasting is one of the « five pillars » or basic tenets of Islam.

The Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau issued a Ramadan greeting to Canadian Muslims stating “Muslims in Canada and around the world embark upon a month-long spiritual journey of fasting, prayer, and reflection to commemorate the revealing of the Qu’ran to the Prophet Muhammad.”

Leaders from across the country issued similar messages including Opposition Leader, the Hon. Rona Ambrose, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, the Hon. Thomas Mulcair, the Leader of the Green Party of Canada, Elizabeth May and the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne.

“The fast of Ramadan is a joyous time for Canadian Muslims, and newly arrived immigrants and refugees. It’s a time when many community members spend time on spiritual reflection and in performing acts of charity, as well reconnecting with family, friends and their communities. This is also an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to learn more about Islam and the continuing contributions of Canadian Muslims,” says Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM).

Communal iftars or fast-breaking meals occur at most mosques daily. Canadian Muslim families often invite their non-Muslim neighbours to share the evening meal. Community members also often gather late at night to perform special evening worship, known as taraweeh.

The end of Ramadan will be marked by a communal celebration called Eid ul-Fitr, or the Feast of the Fast-Breaking on or about July 6*.

[*NOTE: Because the beginning of Islamic lunar months depends on the actual sighting of the new moon, the start and end dates for Ramadan may vary. Consult local Muslim communities for the beginning and end dates of Ramadan.]

According to the 2013 National Household Survey, Canadian Muslims are the fasted growing religious group in Canada and comprised approximately 3.2 percent of the population with some estimates placing the Muslim population now around 1.1 million.

The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit grassroots advocacy organization. It is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.


* This news release has been updated since being originally issued.