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Before last year, the council followed Muslim tradition in using moon sightings to determine the start of Ramadan, a period of fasting, discipline and self-sacrifice.

The problem: Not everyone agrees on the appearance of the new moon, resulting in a scattershot observance of Ramadan’s start.

Switching to astronomic projections was meant to lessen confusion and promote unity. The council’s decision is not binding — Muslims last year were urged to follow the lead of their respective mosques and imams, or spiritual leaders.

From wire dispatches and staff reports