As Ramadan looms, so does greater violence in Iraq

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Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army
Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army

CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 22, 2014 — As hot as the situation in Iraq has been in recent weeks, it is going to get worse soon.

Ramadan is on the horizon, and that usually means trouble.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar based upon the phases of the moon. Therefore, the Islamic calendar is shorter than the Christian calendar, which means that each year Ramadan takes place about 10 or 11 days earlier than it did the previous year.

For Muslims, the holy month is a period of fasting from sunrise until sunset. Believers refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual activities during the fasting hours.


Once the sun goes down, it is a time of feasting rather than fasting, as ravenous Muslims sate themselves with food and drink until just before sunrise.

Despite the fact that Ramadan is a holy month and that the holiest day of the year, Laylat al-Qadr or “the Night of Power” occurs during that month, it is also a time that is often marred by violence in the Middle East.

The Night of Power is said to be the night when Muhammad received the revelation while isolated in a cave that ultimately led to the birth of Islam.

The prayer and fasting combined with regular recitations of the Koran are intended to be a time of reflection for Muslims. Following his migration to Medina in 622, Muhammad determined, however, that Ramadan was an excellent time to create havoc and fight his enemies with surprise attacks. As a result there is precedent for skirmishes of one type or another in the Middle East that often disrupt the intended mood of reverence.

Why should Ramadan 2014 be any more dangerous than holy months of the past?

First, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) will take every advantage available to pursue their goals. ISIS is regarded as even more ruthless than al-Qaeda, from which it sprang. The only rule you need to know in dealing with the world of Islamic extremism is that there are no rules.

There are other factors which contribute to making 2014 potentially more dangerous than past Ramadans. These factors derive from simple aspects which could, and likely will, play a role in what happens in the region in the coming days.

Winter is a considerably easier season than summer for Muslims to endure the fasting challenges of Ramadan. Summer brings average daily temperatures of 120 degrees or more in the Middle East. Sunrise occurs about four a.m. and the sun doesn’t set until approximately 10 or 10:30. Therefore the window for eating and drinking is only about six hours, and somewhere during that time there must be an allotment for sleep as well.

If you put hundreds of uneducated radicals in a 120 degree inferno with no food or water for 18 or 19 hours and relatively little sleep, it won’t take long before you have an army of angry Arabs.

Consider that under the best of circumstances the Middle East is volatile, ready to erupt like an active volcano without warning. Add hunger, thirst, sleep deprivation and an unrelenting sun and you have the potential for unmerciful violence.

In the end it will all merge as part of the same movement in Iraq that is currently in progress, but there could be devastating side effects for a lot of innocent people.

The uprising in Iraq is already in progress in a part of the world that is almost always a powder keg waiting to explode.

Does it really matter that Ramadan is the Islamic holy month? Expect nothing less than death and destruction for the next thirty days from the “religion of peace.” After all, death in the Middle East is a way of life.

 

Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)

Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News. Follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod

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  • Charles Vandegriffe

    Bob,
    I enjoyed your article very much because it gave another perspective on this war-it is my opinion as a senior citizen ( 84) that our country cannot resolve this horrific problem of the different belief systems in Iraq–as I hear the news going back many decades is that they don’t like us so why waste our assets–let them fight it out. Again, I really enjoyed your article and please keep up the great work–Charles

  • Syed Mokhtar Alsagaff

    the writer showed little, shallow and hollow knowledge of martyredom in Islam…the eagerness to be martyred in a battlefied is the upmost and holliest intention of a true believer towards Allah The Almighty

    • BogDog

      Sounds like he nailed it then.

    • saudimedic

      Yes, these crazies think if they die killing innocent Shiites, they will go straight to paradise and get their 72 virgins, I believe they will feel cheated when they end up in El-Jahim (Fires of hell).

    • Kumail

      Those who are on behalf of ISIS are not dying as martyrs but are dying as sinners and are going straight to hell for their attacks on innocent shiites and Muslim Christians. These people are not representing islam, but somethi by else entirely. A group of illiterate and lacking of knowledge of what is the most peaceful and most spiritual religions in the world.

      And I highly doubt that our holy Prophet Muhammad recommended to fight during the month of ramadan. He is the one who taught us to keep away from all world related activities and devote our time to God during ramadan. The author of this article is incorrect when he says that.

  • A true believer

    “Muhammad determined, however, that Ramadan was an excellent time to create havoc and fight his enemies with surprise attacks.”?

    Maybe you first need your facts straight before you wright about Islam.

  • Kumail

    Those who are on behalf of ISIS are not dying as martyrs but are dying as sinners and are going straight to hell for their attacks on innocent shiites and Muslim Christians. These people are not representing islam, but somethi by else entirely. A group of illiterate and lacking of knowledge of what is the most peaceful and most spiritual religions in the world.

    And I highly doubt that our holy Prophet Muhammad recommended to fight during the month of ramadan. He is the one who taught us to keep away from all world related activities and devote our time to God during ramadan. The author of this article is incorrect when he says that

  • mnm

    This Bob Taylor knows eveything about Islam , yet he writes totally baseless comments about Islam ….. he is just another bigot ., educated but aligned to portray lies about true Islam .. it is bigots like this that create hate and disharmony among peace abiding humans with different cultural backgrouds .. He is a pathetic person !!!

  • Sabrina St James

    I am appalled by your article. Uneducated people you say? You categorize Middle Easterners in an unfavorable light, why? Your stupidity is only intended to induce fear amongst the American population who are in fact the most uneducated population there is. Your included in that. Get your facts straight. Yes, some do take advantage of being a terror, but for most Muslims, it’s not a time of war but of honoring the Law of Their God. People like you are in fact the real problem.
    Grow up Bob. Grow Up!