By Amir Al-Hassani
The office of Iraq's top Shia cleric, Ali al-Sistani, said in a brief statement on Wednesday that Thursday is the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
According to a statement by the Sunni Endowment Diwan, Iraqi Sunnis will start fasting for Ramadan on Thursday as well, making Sunnis and Shia in the conflict-torn country start fasting on the same day for the first time in decades.
In decades past, Iraqi Shias started fasting for Ramadan a day after Sunnis.
During the era of late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Iraqi Shias reportedly started fasting in secret, but made their preferences public after the fall of Saddam’s regime in the U.S.-led 2003 invasion.