Aug 7, 2011

Ramadhan Photo News @ xinhuanet

Muslims pray on the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif during the first Friday 
of the holy month of Ramadan in Jerusalem's Old City August 5, 2011. (Xinhua/Muammar Awad) 
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 Palestinian women approach the Israeli checkpoint near the West Bank city of Bethlehem in order to enter Jerusalem to attend the First Friday prayers of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan at al-Aqsa Mosque 
on Aug. 5, 2011. (Xinhua/Luay Sababa)
 
Palestinian women cross the Israeli checkpoint near the West Bank city of Bethlehem into Jerusalem to attend the First Friday prayers of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan at al-Aqsa Mosque on Aug. 5, 2011. (Xinhua/Luay Sababa)
 
A Pakistani boy reads Quran at a mosque in northwest Pakistan's Peshawar during First Friday prayers of holy month of Ramadan on August 5, 2011.(Xinhua/Saeed Ahmad)
 
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Kashmiri Muslim orphans wait to break their fast of Muslim holy month of Ramadan in an orphanage in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, Aug. 4, 2011. Twenty years of conflict has left thousands of orphans in valley and according to State government there are over 8,000 children who reside in orphanages in Indian-controlled Kashmir. (Xinhua/Javed Dar)
 
A Kashmiri Muslim serves a traditional sweet (Pherni) to an orphan before breaking their fast of Muslim holy month of Ramadan in an orphanage in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, Aug. 4, 2011. Twenty years of conflict has left thousands of orphans in valley and according to State government there are over 8,000 children who reside in orphanages in Indian-controlled Kashmir. (Xinhua/Javed Dar)
 
Kashmiri Muslim orphans pray before breaking their fast of Muslim holy month of Ramadan in an orphanage in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, Aug. 4, 2011. Twenty years of conflict has left thousands of orphans in valley and according to State government there are over 8,000 children who reside in orphanages in Indian-controlled Kashmir. (Xinhua/Javed Dar)

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Indian Muslims break fast on the first day of Ramadan at Moti Masjid in Bhopal, India, Aug. 2, 2011. Muslims across the world are observing the holy month of Ramadan, where they refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk. (Xinhua/Stringer)
 
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Pakistani Muslims look toward the new moon that indicates the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in Lahore, eastern Pakistan, on Aug. 1, 2011. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 to 30 days. (Xinhua/Sajjad)
 
Muslims pray in a mosque in Jakarta, capital of Indonesia, Aug. 1, 2011. Muslims in Indonesia started on Monday performing their holy obligation of one-month fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan. (Xinhua/Jiang Fan)
 
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Muslims pray inside a mosque in Manila, capital of Philippines, on Aug. 1, 2011. Muslims around the world are seeking forgiveness through fasting and prayers during Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)
 
Muslims pray inside a mosque in Manila, capital of Philippines, on Aug. 1, 2011. 
(Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)
 
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OIC chief calls for end to all violence during Ramadan
ISTANBUL, July 15 (Xinhua) -- The advent of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan should be respected by all parties, and all acts of violence and bloodshed in Libya should stop, chief of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) said here on Friday.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, chairman of the OIC said in a statement " I would like to call on all parties involved, to respect the sacred nature of this month (Ramadan) by ending all hostilities and bloodshed."
He read out the statement to attendees at the Libya Contact Group meeting in Turkey's Istanbul, saying "I hope that this moral obligation will pave the way to a peaceful political solution to the Libyan crisis with due consideration to the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people," he said.
Editor: Fang Yang 
 
A Kuwaiti woman views different kinds of spicery at an exhibition of Ramadan food in Kuwait City, July 17, 2011. Over 100 exhibitor from Kuwait and oversea countries attend the exhibtion lasting untill July 29. (Xinhua/Du Jian)

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Muslims' Ramadan holy month comes amid unrest, unease in Syria

by Hummam Sheikh Ali
DAMASCUS, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Syrians are worried that the holy month of Ramadan, which most of devout Muslims are eagerly waiting for, will make matters worse in the country that has been plagued by more than four months of overwhelming unrest.
Unlike last Ramadan, when Muslim Syrians did preparations for the holy month almost two weeks ahead of its start and when everything surrounding you made you feel that Ramadan was getting close, Syrians now are too busy to think of such ritual preparations.
The crisis is casting a pale shadow over the Syrians' normal life with no glimpse of hope looming in the horizon that it's drawing to a close soon.
Fears have been further fueled by speculations that Ramadan and especially after breakfast prayers, known as Tarawih, would ignite protests.
Mohammad Habash, a lawmaker, told Xinhua by phone "we call upon people not to turn Ramadan into a nightmare and never use it to achieve a political goal."
During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex from dawn to dusk. Muslims believe it was during Ramadan about 1,400 years ago that the Quran, their holy book, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
After breakfast, Muslims are used to head to mosques for Tarawih prayers, so fears that protests that usually erupt after every Friday's noon prayers will become daily protests in Ramadan.
Opposition parties have already said that they would demonstrate daily during Ramadan to increase pressure on the government.
Abdul-Karim al-Rihawi, head of the Syrian League for Human Rights, told Xinhua by phone "anti-government protests are more likely to intensify in Ramadan because people go to mosques on daily basis."
The nationwide protests have initially started peacefully with demonstrators calling for sweeping reforms and broader democracy and freedom. They however turned violent claiming the lives of hundreds of civilians and policemen.
Habash said "we didn't see armed men at the beginnings, but now they are on ground and it's a duty to hunt down those people and protect the country."
Adnan al-Kurdy, a shop owner from the city of Homs, told Xinhua that he is so sad and down-hearted for the situation in his city saying "there is no work, masked men on motorcycles threat us if we open our shops they will hurt us... we are tired of the situation."
Another shop owner, Huthaifa al-Rawy, in Damascus said "I'm sad that some people might take advantage of the Ramdan to serve their own interests... I will head to the beach with my family to spend the month there so we can be far from any possible incidents."
Syria blames the unrest on gunmen and religious extremists looking to stir up sectarian strife, which if it happens, will drag the country to the worst ever scenario as most of Syria's people are Sunni Muslims but there are also Christians, Druze, and Alawites.
The ruling Alawites comprise around 12 percent of Syria's 23 million populations, while the opposition is largely Sunni. Recent sectarian rift in the central province of Homs between Sunnis and Alawites were ominous.
Ramadan is believed to be, according to observers, a turning point in the course of events in Syria, noting that if the month passes without trouble, this would mean virtually and practically that the crisis will be solved politically though it might takes a longer time.
The government has preceded Ramadan, which is expected early next week, by introducing two major controversial drafts laws; the multi-party and elections bills. The party draft law would allow other parties to compete with the ruling Baath party in any coming elections.
The elections law would regulate parliamentary and local council elections and ensure the safety of electoral process and the right of candidates to supervise the process.
The Baath Party took over power in Syria following a 1963 coup that overthrew the military junta. President Hafez Assad, who died in June 2000, came to power seven years later. His son, Bashar, succeeded him in 2000.
There are eleven pro-government political parties that are practically margined and tightly controlled by al-Baath ruling party.
The bill, endorsed late Sunday by the Syrian cabinet, is part of the government's reform program introduced lately by Assad. It has capped a package of recent measures that aim at easing up restraints on politics and economy.
Prominent opposition figures have shrugged it off, claiming it is symbolic or even has come too late.
They say that the regime should rather initiate by halting its military crackdown and release all political detainees as a gesture to express its good wills.
For his part, Habash said "let's give the reform process an opportunity and stop resorting to bullets... let's retain the spiritual value of Ramadan."
The government is espousing the carrot-and-stick policy with protesters. Thus, at a time when it is cracking down on alleged gunmen it blames for nationwide killings, it simultaneously shows determination to stretch its hands to opposition, pledging to take more measures to meet the peoples' aspirations.
Vice-President Farouk al-Sharaa met recently with a number of Syrian intellectual opposition members. The meetings were held as the opposition was preparing for holding their second conference to discuss transition into a "civil democratic" state.
Editor: Yang Lina
 
Istanbul marks Ramadan with spirit of tolerance


ISTANBUL, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- The advent of Ramadan transforms the face of Europe's largest metropolis Istanbul, rendering it a unique place to witness the traditions associated with the holy month of Muslim and the spirit of coexistence among its residents.
Since Monday, millions of Muslims across the world will refrain from eating and drinking from dawn until sunset for a whole month, which intends to train Muslims about patience, humility and spirituality.
The minarets of the main mosques in Istanbul are decorated with Mahya, a pattern of light bulbs hung high to send a message of Ramadan, and local markets are busier than usual as people shop for Iftar, the evening meal when Muslims break their fast.
Iftar tents are also set up across the city where hundreds of people gather to break their fast together, which are generally operated by local communities and free of charge. Moreover, restaurants and cafes remain open during Ramadan.
While Ramadan is marked across the Islamic world, perhaps it is only in Istanbul where one would be able to see a group breaking their fast and another enjoying a cold beer at adjoining tables amid the friendly atmosphere.
It is a combination of such attitudes and traditions that render Istanbul an organic link between East and West.
For the city's local residents, Ramadan means different things. Mehmet Alkin says apart from fulfilling his religious obligations, Ramadan also provides him with the opportunity to detox his body.
There are still plenty, though, who find the noise generated by the pre-dawn drummers an irritant and an obsolete action.
"I don't see the point of these drummers in this day and age. Those who want to get up early could set their alarms. Why do they wake up the entire neighborhood," said Hamit Coskun, a student living in Istanbul's central district of Beyoglu.
An Iranian tourist Arash who did not want to reveal his surname and visited the city for the second time during Ramadan, expressed his surprise at how different Ramadan feels in Istanbul.
"This is actually quite amazing. It is much more authentic when it is not forced upon people," he said. "I can feel the people fasting here are out of real faith." 

Editor: Deng Shasha 
 
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