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February 08, 1991 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-02-08
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by Jay Garcia
"We are involved in an immoral
and unjust war, according to God's
principles. "- Reverend
Imamuhammad Karoub
"There has not ban any talk about
any cessation or slowdown of
military operations during
Ramadan."- U.S. Department of
As the Persian Gulf War
continues, there is growing worry
that it will not be over by March
17, when Ramadan, the holiest
month of the Islamic calendar,
begins. The United States
government has suggested the
war would be over soon, but
uncertainty about its length is
Ramadan's traditional fasting
and prayer are believed to bring
atonement for the sins of the past
year, and the self-control that is
inherent in Ramadan is also
believed to be a test of a Muslim's
true faith. Muslims all over the
world, even of differing sects,
celebrate Ramadan, a time when
problems are cast aside.
"The Muslims get together
during this holy month.They join
together especially this time.
They feel more closely than at
any other month," describes
Mohamad Fauzi, member of a
mosque in Dearborn. "We'll have
more prayers for peace, for the
end of killing of innocent people,"


he said of this year's Ramadan.
"Mostly innocent people die from
this war."
The Department of Defense
has said the fighting will not
cease during Ramadan. Many
believe that by continuing the
war into Ramadan, the U.S.
would be seriously jeopardizing
the unity of the coalition.
Fauzi said he could not predict
whether the war would last
through Ramadan but told of an
anti-war sentiment at his mosque.
"As Muslims, we are against
the war. We think it should stop
right now. Whether it will stay
until Ramadan, only Allah
knows. I don't want to see the
war anytime, especially during
Reverend Imamuhammad
Karoub, religious director of the
Federation of Islamic
Organizations in'the United
States and Canada, defines
Ramadan as a time of repentance,
not warfare.
"You can start a new page in
your life. It's a sacred month.
There should be no fighting. The
Muslim person must stop
fighting," Karoub said.
Karoub predicts the loss of
support on the part of Islamic
countries and most Arab nations
if the war continues through
Ramadan. Like Fauzi, Karoub
discussed the anti-war solidarity
of common people in most Arab
countries, but admitted it was
not yet strong enough to produce
change. "In the Arab world there

for thi
is already protest of U.S.
intervention," noted Karoub, but
"they cannot do much against the
greatest power on the earth."
Karoub said there could be a
moral outcry should bombs fall
on fasting Muslims. He also
expressed his hope that the war
would end immediately. "Most
Islamic people would deplore the
bombing of Muslim Iraqi people,
especially if they were fasting. I
hope that they will call a cease-
fire long before Ramadan because
the lives of humans are sacred. All
people are brothers and sisters,"
he said.
Department of Defense
spokesperson Howard Hick said
that Ramadan would not affect
the United State's war effort
against Iraq.
"At this juncture I don't see
'At this juncture I don't
see that the war will be
over by Ramadan. We're
not in a position to say
[the war] will be over.
There is no pause which
is planned.'
- Howard Hick,
Defense Department
that the war will be over by
Ramadan. We're not in a position
to say [the war] will be over.
There is no pause which is

planned. If the Iraqis pulled out of
Kuwait, it would be over at that
point," Hick said.
The Defense Department is
aware of the approaching holy
Islamic month, Hick said,
though he would not say what
might happen with the Islamic

of 17 million, so they feel
intimidated by their neighbor and
are willing to continue the fight if
it will ensure their safety.
"I don't dispute the very
important role religion plays,
especially in the Middle East,"
said Cole, who also noted military

by Jennifer Knoll
In 1990, more than 200,000
immigrants from the Soviet
Union, Ethiopia and Eastern
Europe came to Israel to start a
new life. This is part of an
ongoing process which is one of
the largest waves of migration in
history. Israel's government and
people have been working
terribly hard to absorb this
enormous wave of immigrants
into Israeli society.
Israeli law permits all Jews
who emigrate to Israel to become
citizens instantly. Israel provides
"rights," special benefits given to
new citizens, such as a monthly
stipend, free rent, free university
education, and other subsidies

Israel has produced just the
opposite reaction. Israelis are
literally welcoming these people
with open arms. In December, I
was lucky enough to be at the
airport in Israel when a plane full
of Soviet Jews arrived. Hundreds
of Israelis, many of them
carrying flowers, were at the
airport to welcome these
immigrants to Israel.
The Soviets disembarked from
the plane to the sound of people
singing Israeli peace songs. Many
of us on the ground cried as we
sang, trying to imagine what it
must be like to be an oppressed
Jew in another nation finally
gaining full citizenship in Israel.
It was definitely one of the most
moving experiences of my life.


A Passage to Israel

The braintrust which directs the war against Iraq. From left to right: Joint
Chiefs of Staff Chair Gen. Colin Powell, President George Bush, and
Defense Secretary Dick Cheney. Vice president Dan Quayle is also
included in the photo. These leaders have not discussed it, but they may
have reason to be worried if the war is not over by March 17.

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AP/ Weekend
A map which shows most of the Muslim nations in the world. The explosions represent the scene of the
fighting. Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem are the three holiest cities in all of Islam.

nations in the coalition. "We
really couldn't forecast on what
each of the Islamic countries
would do" if fighting went on
through Ramadan, he said.
Others, like University
Assistant Professor of History
Juan Cole, said a distinction needs
to be made between states and
people when discussing the
possible effects of Ramadan on
the war and the unity of the U.S.-
led coalition.
"[Ramadan] doesn't pose a
threat to the coalition on the level
of states. There's a potential for
instability, of people turning
against their own governments,"
Cole remarked.
There is no reason to believe

action has so far taken place
about 800 miles away from the
holy sites.
There is no doubt that in some
foreign nations, majorities of
people are opposed to their
government's participationdin the
U.S. coalition. Pakistan and
Turkey are two examples of this,
Cole said. He suspects the
numbers are the same in Syria
and Egypt.
Since there is no mechanism
for popular sovereignty in these
and other Middle East nations,
policy changes - with regard to
coalition support - cannot be
expected in the short run. Despite

A special feature intended to
provide students the
opportunity to share
accounts of their travels
conductor in the Soviet Union.
During his last shift a passenger
on the train voiced an anti-Jewish
sentiment. When the train
stopped in Odessa, he got off,
headed straight for the airport,
boarded a plane, and flew to
Israel. We were all shocked by the
spontaneity of his decision. He
responded to our curiosity by
saying, "Nothing I had in the
Soviet Union matters to me
anymore. I am finally home."
Before Passover last year,
about 40,000 immigrants arrived
in Israel. Passover is an important
Jewish holiday which celebrates
the Jews' escaping from bondage
in Egypt in order to return to
Israel. On the first night of
Passover, Jews get together with
their family and close friends to
observe a religiously significant
meal known as the seder. The
40,000 immigrants, having just
arrived, had no one with whom to
celebrate Passover, so a radio
station told listeners that they
could invite an immigrant family
to their seder. Over four times as
many Israelis called in as there
were new immigrant families
Evidence of the wave of
immigration is noticeable
everywhere in Israel. When the
news is broadcasted on the radio,
the anchor announces how many
immigrants have arrived that
day. The headlines in the
newspapers are filled with
information and stories about
immigrants. An Ethiopian friend
of mine and his family made the
front page one day. He had moved
to Israel six years ago, expecting
his family to follow shortly. But
the Ethiopian government did not
let the rest of his family emigrate
until late last December. At the
airport my friend greeted not only
the familyewhich he left behind,
but two new siblings he had
never met.
The degree of camaraderie
Israelis feel for their new citizens
can be seen through the new
organizations that are popping

up daily. There are now all sorts.
of private programs to lessen the
financial burden on new
immigrants; and new and used
clothing and furniture is
constantly being collected for
families needing assistance.
The "adopt an immigrant"
program is probably one of the
best programs to help- people
assimilate. Israeli families can
adopt another family or a young
immigrant who comes alone to
Israel. Adopted immigrants call
their Israeli family whenever
they have problems or questions,
making life a little easier for those
immigrants who may be
suffering from culture shock.
Adopted families are usually
invited to the Israeli family's
home about once a week and
immigrants who are alone.
usually are invited to spend
weekends at their Israeli family's
apartment. Needless to say, such
programs are doing an excellent
job maling new immigrants feel
welcome in their new country.
It is a pity that the American
media usually tend to focus on
political or negative occurrences
in Israel. I consider myself
fortunate to have witnessed the
results of this tremendous wave
of immigration. It was
inspirational to see the level of
camaraderie that Israelis feel

we all
will co
share t
or livi

'Most Islamic people would deplore the bombing of
Muslim Iraqi people, especially if they were fasting.
I hope that they will call a cease-fire long before
Ramadan because the lives of humans are sacred.
All people are brothers and sisters'
- Karoub


This Soviet child had just arrived in Israel, one of hundreds of thousands of
immigrants expected to arrive in Israel from the Soviet Union.

Trailblazers and Tr
40 Years of Moder
featuring moden clasis b Joe r
Power Center: Feb. 7-9 at 8 PM;
Student seating $5 at the Leae

that the monarchies of the Middle
East (Saudi Arabia, Qatar,
Bahrain, and the exiled
government of Kuwait) will
lessen their support because of the
holy period, for these nations
believe they are most threatened
by Iraq.
One reason for these countries
remaining in the coalition is that
they have far fewer people than
Iraq, which boasts a population

this, the Muslim sense of unity
fostered by Ramadan may
increase pressure on Arab and
Islamic nations to end their
participation in an alliance in
which Americans and Europeans
are killing Muslims.
Demonstrations calling for the
end of the war may follow daily
prayers beginning March 17, the
start of Ramadan.

which add up to thousands of
dollars per person. The Israelis are
paying for this with a fifteen
percent tax increase. In addition,
the government s dropping many
food subsidies previously
provided for all Israelis. This is
just the beginning of the
economic burden for Israelis -
more than a million more
immigrants are expected this
year. This would be the
equivalent of the United States
absorbing the entire population
of France.
One would expect that such
hardships would cause
resentment among Israelis toward
the immigrants, but the exodus to

Many of the Soviet emigr6s
seemed frightened because they
were about to start a new life in a
completely different society.
However, they were also
encouraged, knowing they would
be equal in status to every other
citizen, which had not always
been the case in the Soviet Union,
whereanti-Jewish sentiment has
become more prevalent in recent
One man who came off the
plane was wearing a strange
jacket and hat which looked like a
uniform. An Israeli who. spoke
Russian questioned him about his
unusual outfit and found out that
the man had been a train

r ri.uurr rr

February 8, 1991
j , k4*


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