Entries in Ramadan (5)


Muslims Around the World Welcoming Ramadan

KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- At sundown Thursday night, Muslims the world over welcomed Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar.

The ninth month of Islam's lunar calendar, Ramadan is believed to be the month in which the Quran was revealed. During Ramadan, which begins with the new crescent moon, observant Muslims refrain from food, water and sexual relations between dawn and dusk.

Exactly when the holy month begins, however, is a matter of annual debate.

Ramadan technically begins only when Islamic authorities in each country announce that the new crescent moon has been seen. Despite astronomers' ability to accurately predict when the moon will appear, most Islamic scholars insist that confirmed reports of actual sightings are necessary in order to declare the beginning of Ramadan.

Adding to the confusion is the emergence of CCD-camera techniques that can render an image of the moon in broad daylight, Nidhal Guessoum, an astronomer at American University of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, wrote in a column for the Huffington Post.

"This has further complicated the already complex relationship between Muslim astronomers and modernists on one side and the traditional Muslim scholars ('ulamas') on the other," Guessoum wrote.

In the past several years, mobile app developers have tapped a growing market among Ramadan observers. Some apps calculate sunrise and sunset times at any location, while others notify users of prayer times.

During Ramadan, Muslims are encouraged to engage in spiritual reflection and worship and to practice self-discipline through the resistance of temptation.

Muslims are encouraged to pray more frequently and read the entire Quran before the holiday of Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan.

This year, Eid ul-Fitr will arrive on the evening of Aug. 17.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Syria Shows Protestors No Mercy During Ramadan

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- An activist group has charged forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad with showing no mercy against pro-democratic advocates during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The Local Coordinating Committees alleges that during the first 11 days of Ramadan, Assad's soldiers and security have killed at least one person an hour.

That would amount to 257 Syrians killed during that time.  Furthermore, the group says it's probably undercounted the number of dead since the figure doesn't include the recent massacres in the cities of Hama and Deir Alzour because of media blackouts imposed there.

Despite the continued onslaught -- now in its fifth month -- anti-government forces haven't given up holding rallies throughout Syria in hopes that Assad will finally relent and accept democratic reforms.

The Obama administration, which has condemned the violence, still hasn't called for Assad to step down, fearing a breakout of sectarian warfare that could be far bloodier than the current situation and one that might spread to other parts of the Middle East.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Syrian Forces Launch Deadly Attacks for Second Straight Day

KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images(BEIRUT) -- Syrian security forces continued their violent attacks on opposition protesters for a second straight day, as the two-day death toll climbed above 70 people.

Monday's attacks claimed at least three lives, according to activists. The offensive comes on the heels of the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, which began Monday.

In attempts to suppress revolt against President Bashar al-Assad and his regime, Syrian government forces have launched relentless assaults on Hama and other cities in the southern Dara province while people begin Ramadan festivities.

The European Union and White House officials have openly condemned the attacks of the four-decade long dictatorship, which appears intent on stepping up violent measures to end a four-month-old uprising against the regime. At least 70 people were killed in simultaneous attacks on Sunday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Offers 'Best Wishes to Muslim Communities' as Ramadan Starts

Libyan men perform the evening prayer at the end of the first fasting day of Islam's holy month of Ramadan in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi on August 1, 2011. GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As Ramadan begins, President Obama and the first lady have sent their “best wishes to Muslim communities in the United States and around the world.”

In a written statement Obama says that, while Ramadan is a festive occasion, it’s also a time of “deep reflection and sacrifice” and he urges people to come together and offer assistance for the humanitarian crisis in Somalia.

“[Ramadan] is also a reminder of the importance of reaching out to those less fortunate,”  Obama says. “The heartbreaking accounts of lost lives and the images of families and children in Somalia and the Horn of Africa struggling to survive remind us of our common humanity and compel us to act.  Now is the time for nations and peoples to come together to avert an even worse catastrophe by offering support and assistance to on-going relief efforts.”

The president also says he looks forward to again hosting an iftar dinner at the White House.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Syrian Troops Crackdown on Eve of Ramadan

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(HAMA, Syria) -- Dozens have been killed in the Syrian military's latest attack on cities across the country.

Syrian troops entered the country's fourth-largest city, Hama, early Sunday, a western diplomat told ABC News. The tanks stormed through protester checkpoints and fired at random.

The assaults come on the eve of the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan, when protests are expected to escalate.

President Obama condemned the violence, pledging "to increase our pressure on the Syrian regime, and work with others around the world to isolate the Assad government and stand with the Syrian people."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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