- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 6, 2001

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
In another sign U.S.-led air strikes against Afghanistan will continue during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the United States yesterday began airing a message worldwide that seeks to explain why no break is necessary.
In an editorial entitled "No pause in war against terror" to be broadcast by the Voice of America, Washington says there is no precedent for a bombing break, even as calls from the Arab and Muslim world grow for a respite.
The editorial, released yesterday with a directive that it is "for mandatory use by all services," notes that Muslims have not stopped fighting among themselves during Ramadan, nor have Muslim countries refrained from launching attacks on people of other faiths during the holy month.
"In truth, the U.S. is far from alone in realizing that there can be no pause when fighting for survival," the editorial says, according to an internal transcript obtained by AFP.
It recalls that in the year 624, the Muslim prophet Muhammad had fought and won the battle of Badr during Ramadan and had also began his campaign to retake Mecca.
In addition, it points out that the 1973 Middle East War in which Egypt and Syria attacked Israel began not only on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, but was also waged during Ramadan.
"Over the centuries, Muslims have often fought wars during Ramadan or on days sacred to other faiths," the editorial says, before going on to note that the Iran-Iraq war, as well as civil wars in Lebanon and Algeria, had continued without pause during Ramadan.
This year, Ramadan begins on Nov. 17 and a number of prominent Muslim political and religious leaders have urged the United States to stop the bombing out of respect for Islam and to quell potential further unrest from opponents of the campaign directed at Osama bin Laden, his al Qaeda network and Afghanistan's Taliban militia.
For days, though, officials from President Bush to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice have all said that they are "sensitive" to Ramadan, but will not necessarily halt the bombing because of it.
"The coalition has no choice but to go to the source of the terrorism in Afghanistan and to root out terrorist groups elsewhere," the editorial said.
"As President George W. Bush put it, 'the enemy won't rest during Ramadan, and neither will we.'"
VOA is the U.S. government-funded shortwave radio and Internet broadcaster that operates in 52 languages around the world, including Arabic and other languages spoken in Muslim countries.
The service maintains editorial independence, but frequently airs clearly identified editorials expressing the position of the U.S. government.


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