News Alerts

29 Apr 2019 | 03:31 AM UTC

Middle East/North Africa: Ramadan to begin May 5-6

United Arab Emirates News Alert

Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa will observe Ramadan beginning May 5-6 and lasting until early June; reduced business operations and increased security measures expected

TIMEFRAME expected from 4/29/2019, 12:00 AM until 6/5/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Riyadh). COUNTRY/REGION Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen


Muslims will observe Ramadan, a month of fasting and religious dedication, beginning Sunday, May 5, or Monday, May 6, depending on the moon. Ramadan will last until early June, likely between Monday, June 3, to Wednesday, June 5, and culminate with Eid al-Fitr celebrations. Many businesses, schools, government offices, and restaurants will be closed or operate on reduced hours during Ramadan. Diplomatic missions may also have adjusted schedules.

Transportation disruptions are also expected during this period due to the increased number of travelers. Heavy traffic is expected around sundown as observers gather for nightly festivities and to break their fast. An increase in traffic congestion and accidents are expected around dusk. Increased security measures are also likely due to a heightened terror threat in the region. Local authorities also typically report an increase in petty crime.


Ramadan is a month of reflection and self-restraint for Muslims and carries great significance in the Muslim calendar. Muslims traditionally fast during daylight hours and are called to practice increased devotion and prayer. More generally, this period also marks an increase in the regional terror threat in many Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa.


Individuals in the Middle East and North Africa are advised to avoid eating, drinking, and smoking in public during the day and anticipate significant disruptions to business and government schedules. Travelers during this period are advised to allow additional time to reach their destination and avoid any forms of public gatherings or demonstrations.


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