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Young, prepubescent children are not expected to fast, however some will choose to do so for half a day to train their bodies.Those who are fasting will abstain from food, liquids and sex, from dawn until dusk.Fasting (sawm in Arabic) is one of the five key pillar of Islam, along with prayer (salat), charity (zakat), faith (shahadah) and making the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.All adult Muslims are required to fast, with exemptions for pregnant women, nursing mothers, women who are menstruating and the sick and elderly.It is considered to be the holiest month of the Islamic year and is an important and solemn part of the Islamic faith.The Prophet Mohammed explained: “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.”Muslims believe that God revealed the Quran to the Prophet Mohammed on the 27th day of Ramadan (Laylat Al Qadr, or the Night of Power).

"The growth and regional migration of Muslims, combined with the ongoing impact of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and other extremist groups that commit acts of violence in the name of Islam, have brought Muslims and the Islamic faith to the forefront of the political debate in many countries," the think tank's report said.And if current demographic trends continue, the Muslim population is expected to exceed the number of Christians by the end of this century, Pew said.There were 1.6 billion Muslims in the world as of 2010 - roughly 23% of the global population - according to a Pew estimate."Yet many facts about Muslims are not well known in some of these places, and most Americans - who live in a country with a relatively small Muslim population - say they know little or nothing about Islam," the report added.At 62 percent, a majority of the Muslims globally live in the Asia-Pacific region.

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