Ramadan Night’s All Right for Fighting

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Nov. 1 2001 12:24 PM

Ramadan Night’s All Right for Fighting

But the U.S. might want to stop bombing anyway.

(Continued from Page 1)

Ramadan is organized around fasting, and this self-denial is in large part intended to create empathy with suffering Muslims everywhere. So approximately a billion people across the world are soon going to be thinking about their daily hunger and Muslim suffering exactly when winter hits and CNN and Al Jazeera start to broadcast reports of freezing, starving Afghan children dying near roads and villages demolished by American bombs. According to the U.N.’s World Food Program, about 7 and a half million Afghans face starvation this winter. Does the United States really want to exacerbate that famine while the people it wants to win over fast every day?

Advertisement

The United States may have a better option than bombing. Instead of doing what the Quran permits, we could do what it actually encourages.

According to Khaled Abou El Fadl, an Islamic scholar at UCLA: "Say I have a neighbor, and I extend a hand of kindness at the beginning of Ramadan. If he says ‘go to hell,’ Ramadan does not obligate me to turn the other cheek. What it requires is that I have made a good-faith effort at finding a moral way to resolve the conflict." The Quran also very specifically supports nonviolent resolutions during the month: "Know that God is with those who restrain themselves" (9:36).

Thus, Ramadan gives an opportunity for reconciliation, and when the holy month begins with the new moon, the United States should offer some sort of plausible resolution. It should temporarily lay down its arms, make a concerted effort to help refugees, and perhaps even publicly present hard evidence of Bin Laden’s guilt. If the Bush administration wants to make one more concerted try at peace, this is the moment for it.

Such an effort will be fruitless if Mullah Omar really does intend to fight to the last man. But even if the Taliban don’t surprise the United States by turning over Bin Laden—the way my Moroccan kidnapper surprised me with his offer of a rug—at least the United States will make some progress at retaining moderate Muslim support. And that’s probably the best outcome from Ramadan we can hope for.

Nicholas Thompson is a senior editor at Legal Affairs.

TODAY IN SLATE

The Slatest

Ben Bradlee Dead at 93

The legendary Washington Post editor presided over the paper’s Watergate coverage.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

Walmart Is Crushing the Rest of Corporate America in Adopting Solar Power

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.