Excerpt:

For the first time in six years, the beginning of the Muslim holy month of fasting is not being marked in the Netherlands by a Ramadan Festival.

The event was set up in response to the murder by an Islamic extremist of Dutch film director and author Theo van Gogh in 2004. The organisers of the festival said their aim was to counter stereotypes about Muslims and help combat fears among Dutch Muslims themselves. The organisers say the event has been suspended to allow for a period of reflection.

The Union of Moroccan Mosques this year wants to focus on the famine in the Horn of Africa. "If you can't contribute money, please contribute with a prayer", says the group's president, Khalil Aitblal.


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