.contact us |.about us
News > International News ... ...
Mideast's Muslims mark Ramadan in somber mood
( 2003-10-27 10:19) (Agencies)

Muslims in the Middle East mark the holy fasting month of Ramadan this year in a somber mood amid warnings of imminent militant attacks in the birthplace of Islam.

Saudi Arabia, cradle of Islam and birthplace of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Sunday warned Muslims against carrying out attacks, saying violence was a sin under Islam.

Shiekh Ahmed al-Khodari reads from the Koran with his students on the first day of the fasting month of Ramadan at the al-Hussein mosque in Amman, October 26, 2003.  [Reuters]
The U.S. embassy said a day before that "terrorists" may strike during Ramadan in the kingdom, which has cracked down on Muslim militants since May when suspected al Qaeda suicide bombers struck in the capital Riyadh, killing 35 people.

In Iraq, under the authority of the U.S.-led occupation, Ramadan had not yet been officially announced and Muslims did not know whether to start fasting Sunday or Monday.

Ramadan is calculated according to the lunar calendar and begins on the first day after the sighting of the new moon. It began Sunday in Egypt, Yemen and the Palestinian territories and will start Monday in Gulf Arab states and Algeria.

During Ramadan last year, Iraqis were bracing for the U.S.-led war that toppled President Saddam Hussein, and stability and order have yet to return to the country.

"This year Ramadan will be different, we don't know what to expect," Khalid Abdul Hamid, who runs a confectionery shop in the Iraqi capital said Friday. "We will try to stay open but we know security will be difficult."

U.S.-led occupation forces say they will lift a night-time curfew across Baghdad and have been drilled on the customs of Ramadan when Muslims avoid food, drink, smoking and sexual relations in daylight hours.


Saudi Arabia's King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah reminded Muslims that Ramadan was a time for good deeds and the kingdom's highest religious authority told citizens to avoid violence.

"Seeking to disturb security or subject Muslim countries to instability is forbidden and a Muslim must not seek to do so," said Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz al-Sheikh in a speech.

In the Palestinian territories, Ramadan began on a somber note after last week's Israeli air strikes in Gaza that killed 13 Palestinians, including militants and civilians. In the West Bank, people took side roads to avoid Israeli military checkpoints to go shopping.

"I thought the Israelis would ease travel restrictions as a good gesture for Ramadan but they did not," said one housewife.

Algerians, however, crowded markets fretting over the sharp rise in prices rather than Islamic rebel attacks -- which in the past decade have been bloodiest during this period, leading to Ramadan being nicknamed the "Jihad (holy war) month."

Last year was the quietest in a decade and is expected to improve further this year due to a clamp down on rebels fighting to create a purist Islamic state, security sources said.

"The price of a kilo of lamb has risen 50 percent for Ramadan. That's not right but what can I do, it's a sacred ingredient for my Shorba soup," Fatima Boufedji said.

  Today's Top News   Top International News
+Thousands homeless in sub-zero temperatures
( 2003-10-27)
+Framework for closer trade ties in sight
( 2003-10-27)
+Survey: House price rises slow down
( 2003-10-27)
+Referendum rally by separatists on island condemned
( 2003-10-27)
+Euthanasia faces ethical and legal dilemmas
( 2003-10-27)
+Mideast's Muslims mark Ramadan in somber mood
( 2003-10-27)
+Leftist becomes Colombia mayor, referendum failing
( 2003-10-27)
+Russian billionaire spends first night behind bars
( 2003-10-27)
+Malaysia leader denies Bush rebuked him
( 2003-10-27)
+Israel razes towers overlooking Gaza ambush site
( 2003-10-27)
  Go to Another Section  
  Article Tools  
  Related Articles  

+Muslims begin to mark Ramadan

+US tells Afghans why it may bomb during Ramadan

+US won't stop bombs during Ramadan, says Rumsfield

+Britain: no halt of bombing in Ramadan

        .contact us |.about us
  Copyright By chinadaily.com.cn. All rights reserved