Lebanon Pulse

Ramadan an opportunity for peace

Article Summary
Ramadan is a time to reflect on the collective pain Muslims are experiencing and explore ways to mend divisions for the greater good.

As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, families looking for relatives at Baghad's morgue “are directed to a room with five 48-inch television monitors playing what could best be described as a slide show from hell — one bullet-riddled corpse after another,” according to The New York Times.

The latest tragic events in Baghdad and throughout Iraq are, unfortunately, experienced in many Arab and Muslim countries. The violence escalating continuously in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and to a lesser extent in Libya as well as the political tensions in Egypt and the ongoing tragedies taking place in Palestine are in an unbelievably ruthless manner exacerbating the Sunni-Shiite divide.

Ramadan, which starts this week, should be an opportunity to reflect and devise a healing process for the wounds inflicted not only on the bodies of Muslim women, men and children but on their minds and spirits, denying them and future generations the happiness they deserve, the dignity to which they are entitled and the fruits of human development in education, health and freedom.

Despite the recklessness that tends to dampen the celebrations and prayers of Muslims, Ramadan should be the month where the sanctity of the holiday offers an opportune time to reflect but also to seek to resolve the causes of violence. This will render Ramadan the month of opportunity to devise means of healing, uniting and rediscovering unity and the common values of Islam by refocusing on what is common among Muslims.

This could be a significant step toward rediscovering communality as well as civilization, empowering the healing role of Islamic culture and the human values and rights it advocates.

With the collective pain Muslims are experiencing, and with the ruthlessness with which destructive policies are being pursued, now is the moment for calm reflection. This month is the period to rediscover Islam and the value of diversity. Then, this month, peacemaking can be energetically pursued, all Muslims can reconverge and the legacy of Islam can contribute to reconciliation among Muslims and all peoples.

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Found in: violence, reconciliation, ramadan, peace, muslims, islam

Clovis Maksoud is a former ambassador and permanent observer of the League of Arab States at the United Nations and its chief representative in the United States for more than 10 years.

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