Why New Zealand is one of the best spots in the world for Ramadan

If you're not travelling to Mecca this Ramadan, maybe you should consider New Zealand - the next-best destination to stave off hunger between Suhoor (the pre-dawn meal) and Iftar (evening meal), and without blazing desert temperatures. 

Fasting in New Zealand only lasts around eight to nine hours - quite low compared to our cousins in the Northern Hemisphere, who are enjoying summer months with longer daylight hours.

Harder still is Ramadan for Muslims living in the Arctic Circle, who are experiencing the most challenging conditions - up to 24 continuous hours of sunlight.

The European Council for Fatwa and Research drafted new guidelines for Muslims in the northern regions to accommodate realistic fasting hours.

Fasting hours have been longer on an average over the last three years, as Ramadan has coincided with the Middle Eastern and South Asian summer.

Muslims in New Zealand

In New Zealand there are around 30,000 Asian Muslims - with the largest groups being Indian (13,000) followed by Fijian Indians, Afghans and Pakistanis (about 3000 each) and Malays and Indonesians (1000+ each).

The first Muslims in New Zealand were an Indian family who settled in Cashmere, Christchurch, in the 1850s - and since then, New Zealand's Muslim population has grown plenty.

By place of origin, 26.9 percent are Asian by birth, 25.7 percent born in New Zealand and 21 percent are from the Pacific Islands (mostly Fijian Indian). Only 23.3 percent were born in the Middle East or Africa.

New Zealand is also a major exporter of halal meat, and the largest exporter of halal sheep in the world.


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