Worthy Christian News » World News » The Holy Month of Ramadan Around the World
Although depicted as a holy month of fasting by devout Muslims, Ramadan also marks a time for increased holy war against infidels.
Militant Islamic elements in Algeria raised their struggle to new levels of violence this weekend, killing nearly 40 people, including 15 young students and their teacher who were machine-gunned to death while sleeping in their boarding school dormitory. This weekend's violence brings the death toll to nearly 200 since the "holy" month of Ramadan began three weeks ago. Many Muslims see Ramadan as a sacred period for increasing their jihad activities, resulting in a noticeable rise in bloodshed during the month, as demonstrated by the surge in murder and terror in Algeria.
More than 100,000 people have been brutally murdered since 1992 in Algeria in an Islamic uprising sparked by the military-backed cancellation of a general election Muslim fundamentalists were expected to win. Despite current President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's peace efforts launched a year and a half ago, terror attacks occur almost daily.
In Indonesia, more than 2,000 troops have been deployed to the troubled province of Aceh as violence has escalated during Ramadan. Soldiers will join police to maintain security during Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid's visit Tuesday "in light of worsening security conditions and the threats made to assassinate the president," military spokesman Graito Usodo said.
Wahid is visiting Aceh in an attempt to quell renewed violence by Muslim fundamentalists who want independence for the region. In recent weeks, the provincial governor's office was hit by a grenade attack, prominent figures have been murdered and three human rights workers killed, bringing the death toll to 10. Several government offices have been bombed and club-wielding gangs have smashed bars and other businesses to enforce Ramadan observances, when Muslims are supposed to abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.
In a concession to the fundamentalists, Wahid is expected to introduce the Islamic code of law, or Sharia, for the region during his visit. He will also hand over $10.5 million in aid. Wahid has promised greater autonomy for Aceh but has rejected the idea of independence.
Peace talks and a cease-fire agreement between Muslim fundamentalists and government forces in May have failed to stem the bloodshed. Government ministers and senior generals have threatened a military crackdown in January if negotiations break down again.
In India, another fruitless good-will effort is underway as Indian security forces are currently honoring a month-long cease-fire against Islamic fundamentalists in Kashmir during Ramadan. Pakistan has responded by stopping artillery shelling along the cease-fire line that divides the region between the two countries, but has continued to allow rebels to carry out attacks, including suicide bombings, against the Indian military. India says Pakistan trains, arms and funds the Muslim rebels in Indian-controlled Kashmir, but Pakistan denies this.
Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.