Uppsala grand mosque in Sweden

By Yahia Abu Zakariya, IOL Correspondent

OSTOCKHOLM, November 8 (IslamOnline.net) – The holy fasting month of Ramadan in Sweden gives Muslims a good chance to stick closer to their Islamic identity, with mosques teeming with worshippers and shops selling famous Arab food.

Encouraged by a country that respects freedom of religion, Muslim families are trying their best to instill the Islamic values and Ramadanian traditions into their young generations.

State schools, in turn, respect the desire of Muslim students to observe the dawn-to-dusk fasting, excepting them from having the obligatory lunch meal.

After having their Iftaar, Muslim children glue themselves to the TV and keep flicking Arab satellite channels, searching for religious programs.

Among a plethora of serials, the Syrian-produced Al-Shatat (Diaspora) has succeeded in grabbing the attention of hundreds of children, which helps keep the Palestinian cause alive in the memories of those young generations.

The 26 miniseries traces back  Zionism at all political, economic and religious levels, and unmasking ways used by the Jews to create their “fictitious” entity in Palestinian territories.

After performing the Tarawih prayers, the faithful go out to the ubiquitous Arab shops and restaurants selling delicious Arab food and pastry such as Moulikhiya (green soup) and Konafa (a golden crisp delicacy said to be of Fatimid origin).

A big problem facing the Muslim community in Sweden is moon sighting. Cloudy skies and cold weather make it tough for Muslims here to sight the new moon.

Therefore, Islamic societies in Sweden declare the beginning of Ramadan following the astronomical calculations of some Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran.

Islam has become the second official religion in Sweden, after Christianity. This is in spite of the fact that the Swedish Muslim community is a relatively new one, unlike that of other European countries such as, France.