The Kingdom's estimated 500,000 Cham Muslims on Saturday marked the beginning of Ramadan, a month of ritual fasting during which Muslims the world over abstain from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk. Othsman Hassan, president of the Cambodian Muslim Development Foundation, said the month-long observance would allow Muslims to seek forgiveness for past sins. "Also, when they are hungry during the day, they will think about the constant hunger of the poor in Cambodia," he said.
Sos Kamry, Cambodia's grand mufti, noted that the ritual fasting at the heart of Ramadan was one of the five pillars of Islam."Not only food, but even our own saliva we are not supposed to consume," he said. Tulas Kriya, an imam based in Kampong Cham province, said Sunday that Muslims believed all of their sins would "figuratively burn away" during Ramadan.
Of the roughly 500,000 Cham Muslims living in Cambodia, roughly 50,000 reside in Phnom Penh, Hassan said.