U. Penn students’ feelings mixed on bombing during holy month

By By U Wire

By U Wire

PHILADELPHIA?With the arrival of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, University of Pennsylvania students have mixed reactions to U.S. attacks on Afghanistan in the weeks to come.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has indicated that air strikes in Afghanistan will continue throughout the holy month, which begins Saturday evening in the United States, and runs for 29 or 30 days depending on the location of the observers. Authorities say it is still unclear what day the observance will begin in Afghanistan.

“The month of Ramadan is a special month where you renew the contract between you and God,” first-year dental student Fadi Kablawi said. “It is a month where the prophet Mohammed used to increase worshipping, where his companions prayed more. It is a month of effort and then making more effort.”

During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual intercourse between sunrise and sunset each day to spiritually replenish themselves. The month pays homage to the time that Allah began to reveal the teachings of the Koran?the Islamic holy book?to the Prophet Muhammad 1,400 years ago. After sunset, Muslims partake in celebration, with traditional food and entertainment.

Fasting for Muslims during this holiday goes far beyond avoiding food and drink during the daytime hours. During the month, Muslims must refrain from succumbing to their passions.

In order to fast their tongues, they refrain from gossip and have patience in conversations with others. By fasting their eyes, they refrain from looking at things that might be objectionable by religious standards. And by fasting their ears, they refrain from listening to negative speech.

For these reasons, many students believe that the United States should cease air strikes during the holy month since it would arouse anger in Muslim Afghans, forcing them to break their fast.

“During the month, Muslims are experiencing a time of more intense religious feelings,” engineering sophomore Amin Venjara said. “How can you attack people when they are trying to celebrate their holiest of months?”

Other students, who have been against the U.S. war efforts from the start, believe that regardless of whether the attacks occur in Ramadan, the United States should stop the bombing.

“If you feel that it’s wrong to bomb, then you feel it is wrong to bomb in Ramadan, but it does become exaggerated during the holy month,” Kablawi said.