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Ramadan 2016: Meet the Turkish couple in Norway who fasts 22 hours a day
Tuesday June 21, 2016 0:32 AM, News Network

[Arıkan family, who moved to Tromso in 2006, are from central Turkey and part of the Turkish minority in Norway. (Photo: Daily Sabah)]

Meet Cansu and Azmi Arıkan, a Turkish couple living in one of Norway's northernmost cities of Tromso for several years, fast for an unbelievable 22 hours a day.

According to the timetable provided by the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate, Iftar - the time when the sunsets and the fast is broken, is at 11:22 p.m. while the calculated time to start the fast is just two hours later at 1:22 a.m., so Muslims in the city fast for an exact 22 hours.

Arıkan family, who moved to Tromso in 2006, are from central Turkey and part of the Turkish minority in Norway, according to Daily Sabah.

"Norway is a pretty cold country, but we are accustomed to the weather conditions," Azmi Arıkan said.

Tromso where the sun does not set for two months during the summer, is considered the northernmost city in the world with a population above 50,000.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and a time when Muslims fast during the hours of daylight. It is common to have one meal, known as the Suhoor, just before dawn and another, known as the Iftar, directly after sunset. As one of the five pillars of Islam, fasting is obligatory for all healthy and adult Muslims - a test of patience and endurance whilst refraining from eating and drinking, and sexual activity.

According to an Arab TV report published in 2011, Wassam Azaqeer, a Lebanese, who lives in a country surrounded by icebergs called “Greenland”, is the only Muslim in this state fasting daily for 21 hours with full determination.

Greenland is the largest island in the world; lies between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean; a self-governing province of Denmark.

Similarly, in Rovaniemi, a northern Finland town that straddles the Arctic Circle at 66 degrees north, the sun rises around 3:20 a.m. and sets about 11:20 p.m. That means Muslims who observe Ramadan could be required to go without food or drink for 20 hours. But nowadays in June, Ramadan begins even closer to the summer solstice, when the sun doesn't set at all.

Likewise, as reported during Rmadan 2014, an estimated 700 Muslims spent the holy month of fasting in the mining town of Kiruna, located 145km north of the Arctic Circle and surrounded by snowcapped mountains throughout the summer. Many of them were asylum seekers, sent to Kiruna while their claims were processed. The sun stays up around the clock from May 28-July 16, 2014, which constituted half of the fasting period during Ramadan 2014.

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