Religious leaders and astronomers from about twenty Moslem countries have been meeting in Turkey to discuss ways of co-ordinating the days on which they hold their religious feasts and celebrations.
GV Tarabya Hotel in Tarabya, near Istanbul
SV INTERIOR Delegates entering conference hall
SV Delegates seated
SV Abdurrahman Gurses of Istanbul chanting verses from the Koran
CU Various delegates seated listening to chant (5 shots)
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Background: Religious leaders and astronomers from about twenty Moslem countries have been meeting in Turkey to discuss ways of co-ordinating the days on which they hold their religious feasts and celebrations.
SYNOPSIS: The meeting was held this week at the Tarabya Hotel, near Istanbul. It was initiated by Turkey, although other Islamic nations have indicated a desire to develop a unified approach. Until now, the start of the main festival, Ramadan, has been calculated according to the position of the moon, and varies from country to country.
Verses from the Koran were chanted during the proceedings by Abdurahman Gurses of Istanbul.
One suggestion, put forward by Turkey, was for astronomers to work out which Moslem country always sees the new moon first. The others could then agree to hold Ramadan in line with that country's dates. Moslems fast from dawn until dusk during Ramadan, after which they celebrate Ramadan Bayram with three days of feasting. Turkey is the only Moslem country with completely western laws, and predicts the date scientifically. But Libya, for example, still retains the ancient method of spotting the new moon by eyesight.