- - Thursday, June 9, 2016

My Muslim friends tell me that Ramadan is a holy month. They say it is a month dedicated to introspection, facilitated by daily fasting. Fasting lets you know in the most intimate way that you are but a fragile creature, dependent on God for your very existence. Fasting is also meant to facilitate empathy with the poor and needy. Ramadan is a month for appreciating one’s relationship with family, friends, and most of all, with God. The combination of worship, introspection and social activity is designed create an opportunity to grow spiritually, and to become more generous and kind.

So it is sad to see that very word “Ramadan” has come to mean the opposite of its original intention. Ramadan today is a time of chaos and mayhem, murder and destruction. Islamist terror attacks that take place in the month of Ramadan, and in the name of Ramadan, have sullied not only Islamism, but, by association, the Ramadan attacks have tarnished the reputation of Islam itself. To the pain of religious people everywhere, Ramadan violence has dishonored religion in general. Murder in the name of God is a disgrace to God.

Last year murderous Ramadan attacks took place in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Jihad’s innocent victims were killed in France, Syria, Tunisia, Somalia and Kuwait.

Monday was the first day of this year’s Ramadan. In the past five days, 9 people have been murdered, and many more severely injured in terrorist attacks. In Amman, an attack against the office of Jordan’s national intelligence agency killed five employees, including 3 intelligence officers. Yesterday in a Tel Aviv restaurant, the victims included a mother of four, a professor, a Coca-Cola employee, and a woman waiting to meet her fiancé. Hamas claimed the Tel Aviv terrorists as their own.

The Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL) called for the Ramadan massacres last year, and apparently has done so again, urging “a month of conquest and jihad”. The threat was announced in an ISIS video made public on May 21.

The U.S. State Department has already issued a warning about terrorist threats to Europe.

Like the Islamic State, Hamas is a terrorist organization with a fundamentalist Islamic ideology. Both organizations control territory by force and strict authoritarianism. The intermingling of religion and violence is everywhere in these societies. Take this popular hashtag on Palestinian social media networks: “#We broke the fast killing them,” which refers to the fact that the two gunmen broke their Ramadan fast in the restaurant where they later shot people.

The prospect for peace is another casualty of the Ramadan massacres. The Jerusalem Post reports that following the Tel Aviv shooting, Salma al-Jamal, a Palestinian news anchor working at Al-Jazeera TV, wrote on her Twitter page: “The Ramadan operation that took place today is the best answer to stories we have been hearing about ‘peace process’ that some people are trying in vain to revive.”

Bloody Ramadan leaves a trail of lives wasted, families shattered, and grief, anger and loss. It dishonors both humanity and God.

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