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Friday, 9 November, 2001, 16:17 GMT
Should the bombing stop during Ramadan?
The US has rejected Pakistan's call for a bombing pause during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, on a tour of Afghanistan's neighbours, rejected President Pervez Musharraf's pleas for a cessation in military action during Ramadan, which begins in mid-November.

General Musharraf voiced the fears of several Islamic leaders that a continuation of the raids during the month-long period of fasting for Muslims around the world could cause major unrest in a number of countries.

He warned on Friday that continuing the bombing during Ramadan would have a "huge negative fallout".

Mr Rumsfeld said that he was aware of General Musharraf's views on a "sensitive" issue, but he said the US had to pursue the al-Qaeda network and its Taleban protectors in Afghanistan.

Do you think that military action should be halted out of respect for Ramadan? Will the continuation of air strikes during the Muslim holy month encourage more retaliation from terrorist organisations?

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below. HAVE YOUR SAY

Stopping a war for a holiday would be a beautiful precedent but not a very smart one

David Hamm, USA
There may be some very good reasons to stop the bombing but Ramadan isn't one of them. For instance, the '72 surprise attack against Israel is known in the Arab world as "The Ramadan War" for the obvious reason. Stopping a war for a holiday would be a beautiful precedent but not a very smart one.
David Hamm, USA

Al Queda and various other terrorist organisations declared war on the US some time back. It was only after the September 11th attack that the US decided to give them the war they wanted. Once started, the US will not, nor should it stop until the war is won. If the Taleban wants to celebrate Ramadan in peace, they know what they have to do. Bush has made that perfectly clear.
Mike, USA

Aside from not quite understanding the objective of fighting a war you cannot win, I wonder whether we will stop bombing during Christmas? If so, how can we possibly bomb during Ramadan and not expect to be seen as nations of hypocrites
Ted Fowler, England

We should compromise with the Muslim request to stop the bombing during Ramadan

Sandoval, USA
We should compromise with the Muslim request to stop the bombing during Ramadan. We American do not know what is going on from the military aspect. We must trust our government as they move secretly and with reason. However, we are smart, compassionate people who respect the rest of the Muslim community. Bombing should only occur as the utmost necessity for such military action. That is all there is to it. Compromise. The people of the US are open-minded and enlighted...this is the only way to do it!
Sandoval, USA

The bombing should continue. Ramadan is being offered as an excuse and as propaganda for the terrorist bloc. Ignore this and pursue the fight on all fronts, including bombing, regardless of pathetic attempts to use religious blackmail in the process. Would Bin Laden and al Queda be so generous?
John Moonie, Scotland

Should the bombing be halted during the holy month of ramadan?. Yes,yes, yes, because we have seen from Oct.7 that it is the people of Afghanistan who have been the victims of America's reply. There is not a single member of Al qaeeda or any other associate of Mullah Omar who has been killed (or martyred).

We, and several other muslim countries, have pledged to support America in its war against terrorism, therefore America should respect our emotions too
Shan, Pakistan

While I object to the bombing of Afghanistan, there would be no reason to stop it during Ramadan.

Philip Harrington, Canada
Is this War - dropping bombs from high up above? I think not. The United States right now should be more concerned with it's own security. People are still getting onto airplanes with knives, stun guns, box cutters. While I object to the bombing of Afghanistan, there would be no reason to stop it during Ramadan. But Killing Osama Bin Laden will not eradicate the terror. Others will pick up his cause. In death he will become more powerful as a martyr than he could ever have hoped to achieve in life. The solution is prevention.
Philip Harrington, Canada

We should stop bombing, not just during Ramadan but for good. One criminal act does not deserve another and revenge is a base emotion. Bin laden wants us to bomb him, it gives him credibility. The Afghan people will hand him over when they overthrow the Taliban. Then we can try him and George W Bush as war criminals. Then maybe we will have peace
Alasdair, Scotland

America's reason for rejecting the Muslim allies plea in the month of Ramadan is that the Muslims do fight wars in their holy month. This in my view is short sighted. While it is true that the Muslims have fought wars in Ramadan, it has only been when they were attacked. Secondly, when two Muslim countries fight in Ramadan, both sides are fasting. But when a non-fasting nation is fighting a fasting nation, it is grossly unjustified and is tantamount to scornfully undermining the sactity of the Holy month, and is bound to inflame Muslim sentiments around the globe. America must listen to its Muslim friends.
Islam Nabi Jafri, Britain

It would be nice to think that the Taleban would spend their holy month in contemplation and introspective reflection, but nobody really believes that. Unfortunately, we know that they'd spend the time regrouping and rebuilding their forces. The US has begun this - to stop now would be to knock the hornets' nest off the tree, then put up a deckchair and sit down next to it.
Sarah, UK

If we condemn these people as wrong, then we should not measure our decisions and actions by theirs?

Silke, London
I find it strange that some seek to justify a decision to continue bombing during Ramadan by claiming that the Taliban / bin Laden / the terrorists wouldn't stop. Surely, if we condemn these people as wrong and/or evil, then we should not measure our decisions and actions by theirs? We are the ones who have to live with our decisions, so we need to do what WE think is right and justifable by OUR values and ethics. How else could we look ourselves in the face every morning in our global bathroom mirror?
Silke, London

I wonder why some countries are advocating halting of bombing during the month of Ramadan when its a festival season all over the world - not only in Afghanistan. If any further opportunity is given to the Taleban, the rest of the world may not have any happy festival seasons in coming years. If all Afghanis believed in Jihad they would not be fleeing to Pakistan to save their lives. They would have stayed home and sacrificed their lives in the name of God.
SureshRahm, India

It looks like they threw down the gaunlet. We lived in ignorant bliss until then. It has become getting killed or getting the killers. If we "turn the other cheek" at this point we will have to continue to look over our shoulders for the next incoming plane. I haven't heard of one American bomb killing 5,000 civilians-- even if you add the totals.
Marilyn, USA

Stop bombing during Ramadan? No. Can anyone tell me of any war in which those involved decided not to fight during the holiday (or holy-day) of their enemies? No, I didn't think so. And I can't imagine that Ramadan is much of a "holy" time for the hundreds of thousands of Afghani women who are literally slaves under the rule of the mysogynistic Taliban!
Marie-Bernadette, United States

We should also increase efforts to aid the refugees at this time.

Darren, England
Yes we should continue bombing. When a country whose government allow terrorists that would blow up buildings to live and train on their soil and have no regard for life our military should have no regard for a religious holiday that clearly these terrorists and there sponsors could care less about. Any people in the surrounding countries who feel "unease" at this should remember what happened on Sep 11. They shouldn't be so sensitive and should make a distinction between a religion and terrorism. We should also increase efforts to aid the refugees at this time.
Darren, England

The bombing should not stop whether its Monday or Friday, Ramadan or any other time of the year. In the 21st century, there are certain military realities that people need to recognize. Pausing during Ramadan would only give the Taleban time to rearm and prepare for a counteroffensive. I doubt the Taleban would give the United States any quarter if we were in a reversed situation. These terrorists attack regardless of month, day, or season.
Daniel de Gracia, United States

A bombing halt is an opportunity to show compassion and win over hearts. Surely a 30-day suspension is not going to tilt the odds against the US forces.
Naveed Kamal, Pakistan

Our forces should remain poised, but respectful during the month of Ramadan

Randy, USA
The bombing raids should cease during the holy month - at LEAST near the civilian areas of Afghanistan, if not everywhere. It would be foolish to simply cancel all operations during Ramadan because that would effectively undo the efforts to date. Our forces should remain poised, but respectful during the month of Ramadan. Though I do not agree with the underlying motives of our military presence in Afghanistan (namely oil/resources) if we are going to maintain a presence, then we must do it wisely.
Randy, USA

Whether they bomb during Ramadan or not is beside the point. We should be asking ourselves whether or not the bombing campaign is effective and whether the trade-offs involved are morally justified? I for one believe aggravating the "hellish" situation that millions of innocent Afghanis find themselves in just to root out networks of terror is deeply flawed. Covert operations relying on intelligence and challenging the weak loyalties of Taleban members by providing a viable alternative would have been much better.
Asim, Canada

Stop the war for Ramadan? What a load of sanctimonious twaddle! Respect the Holy Month of Ramadan? What for? The Afghan war has been going on for ages, Iran/Iraq, Arab/Israeli etc, etc. Stop it? I would intensify it.
Richard, Japan

Sure, carry on bombing through Ramadan. Every day you do guarantees escalation of terrorist activity in future. You know what? I don't blame them. Any nation that even owns a despicable device such as the "daisy cutter" bomb is sick. I felt enormous grief at the appalling loss of life in Manhattan. Not any more, it's a waste of time. The Americans have learnt nothing from the tragedy. This barbarity is not the action of a great people, it is the blind destructive fury of a spoilt and petulant child.
Andrew, UK

This war is bound to continue uninterrupted

Khalil_ur_Rehman, Pakistan
This war is bound to continue uninterrupted. The USA has the edge only in technology, economy and propaganda whereas the Afghans have the edge in an indomitable spirit, no fear of death, and above all the most unfavourable terrain in the world.
Khalil_ur_Rehman, Pakistan

Oh how soon the world forgets. Reading some of these opinions leads me to believe that many people think that President Bush woke up on October 7 and just decided to start bombing Afghanistan? After all, we the "ugly and brutish" Americans take great pleasure in doing this. When in reality we do not want this, but have no choice. It's a matter of self-defence. Yes we should bomb during Ramadan, Yom Kippur, Christmas or whatever. Let's not be so sensitive to world opinion, accomplish our goals and see this to a successful conclusion.
Bryan, USA

I never realised before how many bloodthirsty people live in so-called western civilized world. Does anybody really believes, that the bombing of Afghanistan will bring us peace and a world free from terrorism?
Ann, USA

What everyone seems to forget is that Mr Bin Laden has not yet been found guilty by any court anywhere of the crime committed on 11th September. There is absolutely no basis for killing innocent civilians in Afghanistan because the ruling regime is harbouring a "suspect" in a crime. Should we bomb Chicago because it harbours suspected members of the mafia? Don't be ridiculous!
E Spence, Australia

For E Spence... the mafia don't go to foreign countries and kill people in the name of God. If the Mafia went to Australia and killed thousands in the name of God and the US protected them, then it would be different
Lucia, USA

You only give respect to people who respect others beside themselves

Ceri, Australia/Welsh
They didn't respect those people in the WTC rights to life, or their rights to enjoy Christmas. Why should we respect what they see as a right, their holy month? You only give respect to people who respect others beside themselves.
Ceri, Australia/Welsh

Why stop? The Taleban regime seem to flout the beliefs of Islam. Peace is a key word in their religion but yet they undertake atrocities in their own country. Ramadan is an excuse for the extremists to hide behind and the only purpose is to give them time to regroup and rearm. A month is a long time in war. Lets not wobble and just get in with it, how CAN we respect them?
Hywel, Wales

Most people seem to have forgotten a basic - if overlooked fact in this conflict: although some civilians have died as a result of the bombing, FAR MORE have died as the result of the Taleban and its repressive rule. In a nation where women are routinely denied vital medical attention, where malnutrition due to poor management of food stores is rampant, where suicide amongst women due to despair is common and women are often put to death for "moral crimes" (i.e., not covering enough of their bodies), the Taleban is by far the largest killer in Afghanistan. Any process that removes them from power and replaces them with reasonable governance will eventually save far more lives. Whether or not that government is a puppet of the West will matter little to those who will be able to live freely within the country. Ask the Muslim citizens of Egypt, Turkey or other secular states if they would be willing to live under the conditions that the Taleban have demanded.
Robert Haines, Rotterdam, Nederlands

No way. If military action stops for a month, all the gains we have made to date will be reversed. You can be assured that terrorists will not take a break for Ramadan.
Barrie, England

Bombing Afghanistan has more to do with the oil pipe line than a vengeful riposte against alleged terrorists. America's arrogant and indiscriminate bombing of civilians is being seen by the hitherto un-united Muslim world for what it is: a massacre of the innocents. The Taleban and Bin Laden, until recently despised, have become "under-dog" heroes and by rallying worldwide Islamic popular opinion may yet prove to be David against the American Goliath.
Saradiel, Sri Lanka

Read your history people: War does not go on holiday.
George , United States of America

Every day is a day as important as the next and the last. If bombing is necessary then keep it up. But if it's not, then stop it, Ramadan or no Ramadan.
Rhys Jaggar, England

No, the bombings shouldn't stop. Aside from Bin Laden & Al-Qaeda, the Taleban is a murderous regime that killed WAY MORE innocent Afghans than the US bombs; this regime has nothing to do with religion and God and should be toppled as quickly as possible for the sake of mankind.
Horia, Romania

How would the US and Britain feel if they were bombed during Christmas?

Ismail Dadhiwala, England
I think that the bombing should stop during the holy month, how would the US and Britain feel if they were bombed during Christmas?
Ismail Dadhiwala, England

During 8 years war between Iran and Iraq, two Muslim country and one of them very religious(Iran), there never halted the war during Ramadan. Why this war should be halted?!
Sina, Iran

War is non-denominational and doesn't take religious holidays.
Dave, USA

No the bombing should certainly not cease merely because Ramadan arrives. Neither should any other sort of military activity that is needed to defeat the Taleban and Mr Bin Laden's Terrorist group.
Andrew, UK

Why is it that this question was not raised when Muslim was fighting Muslim?

Yaakov Sullivan, New York, NY
Why is it that this question of continuation of fighting during Ramadan was not raised when Muslim was fighting Muslim? Iran vs Iraq, Iraqis against the Kurds, the Pakistanis against the Indians in Kashmir. Would the Taleban have second thoughts about carrying out one of their terror attacks during Christmas or Easter? Muslims have fought Muslims during Ramadan so there should be no reason for us to stop the bombing.
Yaakov Sullivan, New York, NY

Remember, even the profit Mohamed launched military conflicts during Ramadan, so for Muslim clerics to state that it is blasphemy to fight during this month is absolute nonsense.
Nathan, usa

Should the bombings stop for the Ramadan? I believe so. Ramadan is a holy time for all Muslims, not just the Taleban. If the bombing is not stopped during Ramadan other Muslim countries could take it as an offence. America will again look like "Bully" who doesn't care about others way of life. They could agree on a ceasefire and if ever the Taleban don't agree then at least they can say they gave the Taleban a chance.
David, France

As Bin Laden & Co are no doubt planning to send anthrax-filled Christmas cards to people who have, however innocently, offended them, yes, we should keep up the pressure and continue bombing throughout Ramadan. They had absolutely no respect for the many human lives they took when they bombed the WTC, and thus deserve no "special consideration".
Sue Hudson, London, UK

They should stop bombing altogether because it is helping bin Laden to recruit more terrorists

Ron Hughes, UK
The Americans probably won't stop bombing on Fridays and during Ramadan because it offends Muslims, or on Saturdays because it offends Jews, or on Sundays because it offends Christians. However, they should stop bombing altogether because it is helping bin Laden to recruit more terrorists.
Ron Hughes, UK

What do all of the bleeding heart lefties who want the hostilities to stop suggest we do to eradicate this threat, ask nicely? Perhaps we could invite Bin Laden around for tea to show there's no hard feelings? The guy has helped to murder thousands of civilians, the Taleban are giving him a safe haven, do you people need pictures?
Matt, UK

Iraq and Iran routinely fought during Ramadan for many years. How did they skirt this issue?
Uday, USA

I think this war should be stopped, because it is only killing the innocent people of Afghanistan. May I say this to those who think that this bombing should not be stopped, those who think that are just as bad as those people who killed over 4000 people in America "two wrongs don't make one right". If the American want to kill Osama then she should find him and deal with him according to law. I think as far as the Muslim countries are concerned they have supported the American efforts rightly or wrongly otherwise America own its on would never take on Muslim world.
Sohail, India

What is this war against? Whom are we killing? Are we doing the right thing? Are we really satisfied with what's going on? We should sit and think in a calm and quiet place and then ask ourselves from the core of our hearts without any prejudice against anybody the above questions...
Ismat Gul Khattak, UK

Stopping for Ramadan will set back the campaign and delay the use of ground troops.

Neil, Scotland
Stopping for Ramadan will set back the campaign and delay the use of ground troops. I find it hard to beleive that anyone would advocate a month's delay that will inevitably mean more air strikes and more civilian deaths to get us back to the stage we are at now.
Neil, Scotland

If the Taleban would turn over Bin Laden and his cohorts, or if the members of Al Qaeda would stop hiding behind the Afghan people then bombing during Ramadan would not be question. The blame for the suffering of the Afganistani people belongs squarely on shoulders of the Taliban who choose to harbor terrorist and Al Qaeda who choose to use the Afganistanis as human sheilds.
Dan O'Bryant, USA

Bombing should stop altogether. Children were killed on 11 September and whole families are being killed every night in Afganistan. Two wrongs don't make a right. Nobody has a right to kill anyone whatever the reason. The American Administration, as usual, seem to have no idea of the seeds they are sowing. They were quite happy for the mujahadin to fight the Russians and did not do anything to help the country afterwards.The SAS (and probably the CIA) could have got Bin Laden by good intelligence and guerilla tactics alone in the early days after 11 September. They were flown in immediately, according to newsflashes here. It is obvious you cannot bomb him out. From these constant military miscalculations we can only assume that the leaders of the coalition have another agenda of which we know nothing about - as usual.
Jo, England

It wouldn't be so easy to accept the death of civilians in a holy position.

Kaiser Sumro, USA
Bombing in Ramadan is pushing the moderate muslims towards fundamentalism. We accept killing of civilians which occur in war, but it wouldn't be so easy to accept the death of civilians in a holy position (fasting). Be the man of principle and stop the bombing during ramadan, continue afterwards and then you will have support of average (majority) of muslims.
Kaiser Sumro, USA

The bombing must continue. These people obviously have no real idea about what their religion stands for any more.

Why is it that so many people in the western world are defending the Taleban and the Afghan people? How do people so quickly forget the events on September 11th? Why are we being labeled as 'evil' because a few Afghan civilians die in bombings? Last time I looked we are trying to bomb specific targets whilst the terrorists seem intent upon killing as many innocent people as possible. Why are the Afghan people innocent anyway? They are behind a government who is supporting terrorist activities. If they didn't want that then why let their government rule? Haven't they heard of a revolution?
Luke Watson, England

Having apparently decided on a strategy, our best route is to get on with it

Chris B, UK
Stopping the bombing during Ramadan would be cynically interpreted by Islamic extremists as a White House admission that this war is about religion. As soon as Ramadan was over and the attacks restarted, the outraged cry would go up: "If this war's nothing to do with religion then why did you stop bombing us during Ramadan?" In this respect, it's a no-win situation, but stopping the bombing during Ramadan would cause even more problems when it re-commenced. However, history shows that Muslims have never been shy about attacking each other during Ramadan. So, having apparently decided on a strategy, our best route is to get on with it and not be deterred by those cynics who like to have their cake and eat it.
Chris B, England

As a few of the participants observed that if bombing was not stopped, Taleban would gather more sympathy even from the moderate and broad-minded Moslems around the world. Also, please understand it will also increase the difficulties for Musharraf government in Pakistan, which has already been targeted by extremists for supporting the USA and West against the war in terrorism. So the continuation of bombing during Ramadan will certainly create law and order problems in most of the Moslem countries as we expect more processions and rallies.
Manzoor Ahmed, Karachi, Pakistan

There is no reason to stop bombing for Ramadan or any other religious festival. Moslem memories are extremely short and they have obviously forgotten the Yomkippur War which commenced at the most holy moment of the year for Jewish people. The simple answer would have been for there to have been no atrocity committed by Bin Laden and then all the subsequent situation, caused by him and him alone would not have happened
Raymond Hart, England

Those who hide behind religion forfeit their right to be considered as religious people

Ryan, USA
Those who hide behind religion to carry out their evil schemes forfeit their right to be considered and respected as religious people. Let the campaign continue.
Ryan, USA

I really hope Bush comes to his senses and ends the war during Ramadan, otherwise the whole Muslim population will see this war against Islam and will revolt. Think about all those innocent people who have no idea why the US is bombing now that the winter is nearing. Numerous people have mentioned the Iran/Iraq war here. Well this war is going to be seen as a war against Islam during the holy month. Muslim views will change and go against the west. This is not what Bush wants.

If the bombing is a large part of this war, then the action must continue unreservedly. Only its opponents will benefit from one side's cessation of hostilities during Ramadan.
Mark M, England

Of course we should continue the bombing during Ramadan. Not to do so would be giving the enemy a chance to recover from the gains made since October 7. As for those who equate Hiroshima to September 11, I suppose I was mistaken in my belief that history, the real details of history, were taught as part of the European educational system.
Ward, USA

Bin Laden is not in Afghanistan anymore - do you really think that he's that stupid? We should be thinking about who or where is going to be the next target for the terrorists. While we all sit here pontificating something bigger is being planned right now and no one has an idea about where or when it's going to happen. Now that's worrying!
Pete Foxen, England

If some people want a Jihad, their efforts should be directed at overthrowing the Taleban

Hareesh, Swindon, UK/Saudi
As a Muslim, it sickens me that so many fellow Muslims are attempting to justify the deaths of thousands of innocent people in America. All of this talk of a Jihad is madness. Hundreds of our Muslim brothers were dying as a matter of course in Afghanistan under the blasphemous cause of the Taleban. If some people want a Jihad, their efforts should be directed at overthrowing the Taleban. Something that should have happened long before now. Afghans may be suffering at the moment, but the only real chance they have of long term happiness and peace is with the Taleban and Bin Laden gone for good. Wake up to yourselves!
Hareesh, Swindon, UK/Saudi

I don't think the bombing should be taking place at all. Don't get me wrong, I am totally in favour of the terrorists being brought to justice. However, I don't believe bombing the poorest country in the world is the answer. We are told repeatedly that the air attacks are targeted. But how can they be targeted when you have poor intelligence? This has been proven by the constant "mistakes" that are being made. I think it would be a lot more effective to have a "silent" war against these organisations by cutting off their funding, rounding up their leaders in the different countries and slowly but surely squeezing the life out of them. By bombing Afghanistan we are only creating more extremists.
Jamil Khan, England

Brilliant idea! Let's give them the time they need to re-group, re-arm, re-supply, rest up and time for the weather to turn against us. Give me a break!
John, USA

Osama Bin Laden and his henchmen could stop the bombing in an instant: they have only to surrender. If Bin Laden was one hundredth of the "hero" his supporters suggest, he'd give himself up and thereby put an end to the carnage he has brought upon Afghanistan. The ultimate responsibility is his.
Natassia Khan, UK

This is aimed at David Warburton of the U.K. Kind sir, dropping a nuclear bomb on "them" as you put it will by no means guarantee you a peaceful nights sleep. On the contrary, if your advice were to taken seriously by those in authority, it could very well be the beginning of an all out confrontation between Muslims and Christians. On the subject of the IRA they have been killing innocent people for over 20 years and no one has even mentioned anything about bombing them. Does anyone smell hypocrisy here?
Marvin, Tobago.

No, we should not stop. This needs to be finished and if it means dropping a nuclear bomb on them then so be it - at least we will be able to sleep safely in our beds when they are all gone. This is not against religions - it is against terrorists - ALL of them. Watch out IRA and ETA you will be next!
David Warburton, UK

It is not the holy month of the terrorists, it is the holy month of Muslims

H Akhundzada, Pakistan
If the war that the USA is waging is against terrorism then it should not be stopped during Ramadan because it is not the holy month of the terrorists, it is the holy month of Muslims. On the other hand if this fight is indeed against the Muslims then it should certainly be stopped.
H Akhundzada, Pakistan

All the people worried about the innocent civilians dying seemed to have forgotten that 5000 innocent non-combatants were murdered in our own back yard. This is not Somalia, Vietnam or Korea. We did not have to fight in those countries and defeat was an acceptable option. This is a war that we will fight to the end no matter the cost. The world seems to forget our determination once we are personally attacked in our own homeland. We cannot afford to lose this war. I'm sure the majority of the American population is willing to fight to the end no matter how bitter it will be. On September 11 we stopped caring about world opinion. This is not a time for political correctness or sympathy. It's time to show the world who we are just like we did in WWI and WWII.
George, USA

The war should stop altogether. Haven't the poor Afghans had enough misery already? This war is to cover up the embarrassment of bad intelligence gathering, previous US support for the Taleban and short- sighted foreign policy. The innocent people of Afghanistan are being made to pay for the actions of a terrorist organisation that is active all over the world. What purpose is the war serving? It is only favouring the crusade of al-Qaeda, as many moderates are now turning to the extremism because of flippant US policy.
Michael Kelly, Ireland

The faith of innocent people will overpower technology

Naz, Australia
Let the evil military continue bombing innocent people in the holy month of Ramadan. Allah will protect them and prove that the faith of innocent people will overpower technology.
Naz, Australia

This war should stop immediately. What is going on in Afghanistan is the beginning of a genocide of the people of that country. We are witnessing the beginning of a "silent" genocide the same as is going on in Iraq at the present time. Our government are assisting the USA to commit this new genocide. If we are truly fighting terrorists, are not we also terrorists in our actions against the innocent people of Afghanistan and Iraq?

No this is an unjust war and further whilst I personally condemn the atrocity of 11 September, there were far greater atrocities where much larger numbers of innocent civilians were killed, approximately 500,000, instantly. The terrorists then were not some "middle eastern" group but guess who? Yep, the good old US of A. The places Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Hassan, Swindon, UK

Bombing should stop completely and the US should start to think about the cause of the events of September 11. Instead of attacking the symptom, one should diagnose the disease. Was it not the CIA that armed the Mujahedeen to fight the Russians? It is the same story over and over again. The US creates dictators around the world, arms and supports them and then when things get out of hand it sends its troops to bomb them. Saddam Hussein of Iraq is a great example, Pinochet in Chile is another. But the list goes on and on. It is only the public that can change and exert pressure on their governments to act accordingly.
Nazar Rasheed, UAE

No, we should not stop or pause the war during Ramadan. It is delusional to think that Bin Laden and his band of killers would do the same. In defending my own life against their immediate threat I have no qualms about sinking to their level. This is war and they started it. As for Hassan, Swindon and Nazar Rasheed, you two really should meet - Nasar says the people who died in the "event" of September 11 essentially brought it upon themselves, because, you see, it's really the US governments policies that caused their murder and, after all, it's only the people who can change and exert influence on their government.

Hassan, of course, thinks the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were acts of terrorism - conveniently overlooking, assuming he knows, that the Japanese government started WWII five years before Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing more civilians in the Rape of Nanking than the US did at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the civilians who lived in Hiroshima and Nagasaki did nothing to exert pressure on their government. The problem is very simple - no matter what a government's policies may be, it's hard to justify a group of individuals intentionally murdering another group of civilians because the first group doesn't like the second group's governmental policies.
Robert West, USA

Listening to the endless night time heavy trains rolling by my house filled with the supplies of war and the constant stream of military planes doing the same, I can only say dream on if you think the bombing is about stop. I just wish the Taleban would give up Bin Laden so my family can start getting a full night's sleep again. I am, also, very tired of worrying about anthrax. Anybody so low as to use or support the use of bio-warfare the way that Bin Laden and his supporters have don't deserve consideration as a member of the human race.
Mitch Land, USA

The Taleban have never stopped repressing the Afghan people during Ramadan

Mansoor, USA
Look at Iran and Iraq - both Muslim countries fought each other for eight years, never stopping once for Ramadan. The Taleban also have never stopped repressing the Afghan people during Ramadan.
Mansoor, USA

Please do not stop kicking the harmful Taleban, otherwise they will grow again.
Amanullah, Canada/Afghanistan

The Taleban have fought the Northern Alliance during Ramadan before so I see no difference in the world in bombing during the holy month as well.
Nick, Switzerland

The US/UK governments are the world champions of human rights. Therefore, to keep their standing, they should stop the bombing so that the civilians in Afghanistan can observe their faith during Ramadan, but at the same time, send ground troops in to deal with their real enemies, the Taleban and Bin Laden. By so doing, the US/UK governments can earn more respect and support from all over the world and can show the world that they are real heroes.
Grace, Malaysia

There must be due consideration given to the bull in a china shop approach, before too many things get broken!

Michelle, UK
To the people who use the argument "but terrorists don't care for religious considerations" That doesn't mean the USA and Allies should stoop to the same level and same reasoning. There is more at stake here than just Afghanistan, and some terrorists. The whole area is very volatile, and there must be due consideration given to the bull in a china shop approach, before too many things get broken! Pakistan is struggling with internal problems, and their President gave his help and support on the understanding this would be a quick resolution of this issue. The same also goes for many other Arab countries in the area. It's turned out to be the opposite, and a humanitarian disaster to boot.
Michelle, UK

It really makes no difference if you stop or not during the month of Ramadan as terrorism will continue. The terrorist network is worldwide, when another act of terrorism occurs in the US and the source is not from Afghanistan (and most of the hijackers weren't from there) then what will the US decide to do? If you can't see by now that the US dominates the world via its brutish, aggressive behaviour then you're very naive.
Terry, UK

The mere fact that the US and her allies are undertaking this criminal campaign is an outrage to 1.5bn Muslims. What hurts us more is that most of our kings, presidents and prime ministers are collaborating with the Western states, thus serving their interests.
Jalal, England

The Taleban have so little regard for the bases of Islam - truth, justice, equality and respect for the sanctity of life

Emma, Britain
The Taleban and Northern alliance haven't appeared to have stopped fighting for Ramadan before. I still can't understand why the Taleban claim to be Islamic and yet have so little regard for the bases of Islam - truth, justice, equality and respect for the sanctity of life.
Emma, Britain

The common Afghani doesn't even know why the US/UK are bombing his country. The west doesn't care about religion but only profit and that's why they are ignoring the significance of Ramadan to Muslims. They should really think if they are not using the tactics if the extremists.
Jibril, Germany

I think it is one of those situations where you have to choose the lesser of two evils. The number of lives you will save by bombing during Ramadan (thus stopping the terrorists planning another attack) probably out weighs the number of lives lost due to the unrest caused.
Ohin Louiz, England

The terrorists initiated this war. A pause in fighting will only give the Taleban a chance to regroup and re-supply. We must fight on to destroy this government that harbors and condones terrorism.
Stan Davis, USA

It's sad to see that after the amount of people died on Sept 11th,in a really sad event, there are so many people that are saying that we should bomb and bomb .... Believe it or not those civilians that are dying in the cities that are getting bombed are just as innocent as the people that died in the NY and DC .... just as human ..... and just like the people that died in NY and DC ..... they have done nothing at all to hurt anyone.
Zee, UK

I can't remember Iraq and Iran stopping for Ramadan.
Owsmik, UK

Please don't let him persuade a religion to join his army

Speculate all you want regarding oil and other reasons, but these bombings are primarily designed to remove from power, a man who has previously, very recently, and promised in the future, to murder innocent people in pursuit of his own cause. This coward has already persuaded a "government" (and therefore a country) to be a shield in front of him, please don't let him persuade a religion to join his army. This is NOT a holy war, it is being billed as such in an attempt by Bin Laden to recruit more "soldiers". There are no religious implications, and ceasefire during Ramadan would send out the wrong message about religion being involved.

We should stop bombing during the month of Ramadan not just for the reason that it a Islamic holy month, but for the dual reason of looking after the mass of refugees and considering a new policy as the bombing really seems to be having an effect doesn't it. The stage of carpet bombing is the worst idea yet, the whole idea of carpet bombing is to drop a line of bombs and hope 1 hits, a trench is a pretty small target, and if the ground is similar to other areas, then only a direct hit would do damage.
Akki, UK

No it should be intensified so that we can finish the war in time for Christmas.
Garry H, UK

In reference to Garry H's comment that we should intensify the bombing so it can be over by Christmas I would like to know why? So the Afghanis can have a Merry Christmas? You want the bombing over so the allies can be home with their families for Christmas? What about the Afghanis who would like to NOT be bombed in the scared month of Ramadan?
Claire, U.A.E

The US has walked straight into Bin Laden's plans and is destroying some it's creditability

Dave F, UK
I am neither Islamic or Catholic (or religious at all) and have mixed views on the bombing. Part of me says that we should stop the bombing and try and establish a peaceful approach to this. The US has walked straight into Bin Laden's plans and is destroying some it's creditability. The other part realises that if this war is to continue, then what good does it do to stop the bombing?
Dave F, UK

To stop bombing during Ramadan would merely give credence to Bin Laden's idea that this is a war against Islam when it is a war against Fundamentalism. Political Correctness seems to now be our biggest enemy considering some of the remarks on this page. Have people already forgotten what these evil people are capable of?
Andrew, London, UK

Think of the martyrdom that would be claimed by Bin Laden's followers if he was killed by "western infidels" during the holiest Muslim month. The US/UK are forever saying that we need to be patient as the war could last a long time, it's about time they showed some patience too.
Martin, England, UK

The civilian casualties are mounting and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel

Omar, USA
People are so consumed in winning and losing at the expense of everything else. The civilian casualties are mounting and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. The U.S could send a powerful message of caring if they call Ramadan a month of honest negotiation. For those who allege that wars took place in Ramadan throughout Islamic history, my answer is that civilians were detached from the direct impact of conflict. In the case of Afghanistan, as reported by humanitarian agencies, civilians are the real victims and the angrier they get, the more anti U.S they will become.
Omar, USA

As many commentators have pointed out the Muslim world have never ceased any of their conflicts before during Ramadan so it begs belief why they should expect us to do so. You would have to be incredibly naive if you thought that Osama bin Laden and his organisation would be taking the time off to respect their religious holy month.
John, England

Even the civil war in Afghanistan comes to a halt during Ramadan. Bush and Blair will have a hard time proving that "the war is not against Islam", if they continue bombing during Ramadan. They will enrage one billion Moslems around the world and will risk the support of other allies because of their disrespect for Islam.
Ratna Sengupta, USA

This isn't a game of cricket that can stop when it rains

Why are we even debating this? As has been mentioned, in 1973, Syria, Egypt et al decided to launch a massive offensive on Israel in order to totally destroy it. They chose Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, when the troops hadn't eaten for 24 hours. An even bigger irony is that the Yom Kippur War continued right through Ramadan! Why should we care about extremist Muslim reaction, when the fundamentalists hate the West anyway? This isn't a game of cricket that can stop when it rains. It's a war, and should be conducted as such.

The 'campaign' against the Taleban is a war, and as much as I would like to be sensitive to Islamic religious conventions, we cannot lose sight of what this effort is really all about. If we think that the Taleban will observe the religious restrictions of Ramadan, and sacrifice the opportunity afforded to reassess, regroup and rearm, then we have learned nothing from September 11th. Surely religious zealots like the Taleban feel that paramount importance lies with the Jihad, and not with a ceasefire during this holy month. For America and her allies to allow this clearly facetious request to come to fruition would be a mistake resulting in greater loss of life, and we have already suffered far too much to let further erosions be made to our safety and sovereignty.
Sharon Langworthy, Chicago, USA

No-one should claim to have the "right" answer

Tim Brown, UK
There is never going to be a perfect solution. Either path will have it's problems, and no-one should claim to have the "right" answer. I personally feel that action should continue, but not in the form of the US government's favourite hobby: Air Strikes. You can only do so much from a plane at 15,000 ft.
Tim Brown, UK

I agree 100% with Tim Brown. There is no right or wrong answer. However, the Taliban have said that they expect no pause in the action and will continue to fight through Ramadan. Therefore, our debate is put to rest. However, perhaps it is time for the US to display some of the WWII spirit that George, US, stated. However, the US is failing to do so by continued bombing and now by attempting to manipulate the Northern Alliance in the country to fight for them by supplying weapons etc. I fear that the US has become soft and rather comfortable at 15,000 feet. Show us all that you believe in your convictions and put some men on the ground.
Zak, UK

I think we would be wise to halt the bombing during Ramadan. It seems quite mad to me to antagonize Muslims all over the world, when we want and need them on our side. I doubt seriously that the pause would give the Taleban much of an advantage; in fact, if anything, it might just work to our advantage.
Jan Overstreet, USA

It is an absurd notion that Ramadan deserves some special treatment. Not only did Iran and Iraq fight through Ramadan for 8 years, but Egypt, Syria et al had no problems attacking on a Jewish high holy day. This sanctimonious hypocrisy spouting from some Islamic countries and the apologists of the world only extends the nature of the conflict beyond its objectives. To be blunt, it is a stupid appeal by those who would never fight for anything except the right to constantly patrol the borders of their own damaged self-esteem.
Richard Shepard, Ukraine

Terrorism is a cancer that effects the whole world. You cannot negotiate with cancer

Mitch, USA
Our nation has been a spoiled and disconnected country from the world. To that we are guilty, the recent attack on our homeland has awakened us to the responsibility that we can no longer ignore what happens in the world. We will not make that mistake again. No-one likes bombing - not even the USA. The Taleban had a choice. They chose to defend murderers and cowards as opposed to considering justice. All choices involve consequences, if we do not follow through with those consequences, the whole world will lose.

Many Americans were extremely touched by Tony Blair's immediate and strong response to our tragic loss. I remember feeling shame that the USA did not so quickly enter WWII to come to the aid our British brothers. I remarked to myself, certainly the Brits are "better" than we for they clearly see the task ahead. My sincere hope is that the majority of the British are in agreement with your own government. Terrorism is a cancer that effects the whole world (not just the USA). You cannot negotiate with cancer, ask any doctor.
Mitch, USA

Muslim life does not seem to have any value in today's world. Does the US/UK government not understand that innocent people are being killed and will be killed as a result of bombing during Ramadan?

Thousands of people have died and it looks as though the western governments will not be content until thousands more die. People are dieing through bombing, and starvation. Now that the winter weather is coming through, it is so important to get aid to those who are suffering. Ramadan or no Ramadan please stop the killing.
Nadeem, UK

We should carry on and step it up if possible before the winter sets in

Alice, USA
I should think those of Muslim faith themselves have set the precedent about waging war during Ramadan. Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on Oct. 6, 1973 to begin the Ramadan/Yom Kippur War. Apparently it is just fine to conduct war at this time. Therefore, we should carry on and step it up if possible before the winter sets in.
Alice, USA

If we were fighting a Christian country, would we pause the war for Christmas or Easter?
Garry, UK

In response to Garry, we did stop during both the First and Second World Wars for Christmas - there was at best an "unofficial" ceasefire. As for this war, we should carry on through Ramadan only if we are prepared to continue any bombing or land invasions, including those where we put our own lives at risk, on Christmas Day.
Keith, UK

It is disgusting what Garry, UK has said. Clearly he has no respect for the religion of Islam. The Americans should stop for the sake of humanity but on the other hand if they do not stop then it will not effect the Taleban. The west does not realise what it is going to fall into. It thinks the spirits of the Taleban will fall due to their hunger but that is not true. For a Muslim there is no bigger blessing than the holy month of Ramadan. Therefore, whatever the Americans do, there will be a backlash.
Banaris, UK

To Banaris - if Ramadan is such a blessing then why don't the Taleban just hand over Osama and then they can celebrate the holy month in peace. Oh that's right, they still have the northern alliance to deal with. What religion are they again?
Chris, UK

War and respect are antagonistic notions

Nicolai, Belgium
On the military level it's obviously not a good idea (things seem to be going bad enough as it is). And let's not talk about respect for the civilian population. War and respect are antagonistic notions. For someone who's had his home bombed out I don't think it makes much difference whether it's Ramadan or Hanukah. It all boils down to PR vs military logic.
Nicolai, Belgium

This is a war against terrorism, not a war against Islam. Therefore, Ramadan is as irrelevant as Christmas, Easter or any other religious festival. Any pause would simply give the Taleban time to regroup and make the winter fighting even harder than it is already likely to be.
Steve C, Birmingham, UK

While I support the ongoing campaign, I do accept the call to halt bombings as a valid argument - just not one I share. However, once the decision has been made to follow this course of action, there is no reason to halt it specifically for Ramadan. Will those who issued a fatwa calling for all Muslims to kill Americans (military or civilian) be lifting it and relieving Muslims of this "duty" during Ramadan? I think not.
Mike, UK

I would just like to add that during the Iran/Iraq war neither side halted fighting during Ramadan. These two countries are both Islamic nations.....just a point.
Karim Zaoui, UK

The bombing of innocent civilians should stop. Full Stop

N Akram, UK
The bombing of innocent civilians should stop. Full Stop. However the reaction of the Americans highlights the fact that this is not a coalition but more merely a collection of countries on whom the US, by threat of violence in the case of Pakistan, have enforced their will upon.
N Akram, UK

Did the Taleban stop its attacks during Ramadan, when taking over Afghanistan? If they did not, then why should the US and the Northern Alliance forces stop?
L.Y.Rao, India

Certainly not! This is not a war to be fought by armchair commentators. It needs earnest, and swift prosecution. Unfortunately the nature of the country does not present an easy solution. So unease will be felt by many, but we must continue.
Barry, UK

That would imply that this is a war about religion. It is not

Steve, UK
No, it shouldn't stop. That would imply that this is a war about religion. It is not. This is a war against those who think that flying an aircraft full of people into office buildings is acceptable, those who think that the systematic repression and public murder of women is acceptable.

Muslims keep telling us that theirs is a peaceful religion. If that is so then it is time for the Islamic world to disown the Taleban and al-Qaeda as nothing but a grotesque perversion of their faith. If it cannot do so, if the Islamic world believes that the behaviour of the Taleban and al-Quada is right and proper then maybe this should be a war against Islam, but I for one don't believe that for a minute.
Steve, UK

Why just for Ramadan? The bombing should stop now for good. Too many innocent Afghans have already died in what is no more than a revenge attack for the WTC.
Eileen, UK

Eileen, UK is wrong. The war in Afghanistan has nothing to do with revenge for the WTC - it's all about oil and a pipeline that's been planned to go through Afghanistan. This war has been planned for ages. India and Pakistan were told about it in July. Basically, the oil companies want a recognised sovereign regime in place in Kabul in order to proceed and the Taleban don't fit the bill, so to speak. Hence, the war appears to be more about destroying the Taleban and the Afghan civilian infrastructure, than it does about capturing Osama Bin Laden.
John McVey, Scotland

John at last got the point across of the true aim of this so-called fight against terror. It's a fight for oil and a proposed pipeline scheme. I bet if there is ever an end to this war and a puppet government installed in Afghanistan, there will surely be huge pipelines zigzagging the country instead highways. Ravenous US oil giants are waiting.
Faheem Moor, Germany

I feel I must respond to comments about this war being an attempt to drive a pipeline through Afghanistan. Do your research. Previous to the WTC attack, the Taleban was eager to build this pipeline, with a US oil company leading a consortium of other corps. Frankly, they saw it as an excellent opportunity to revive their extremely depressed economy. If our number one interest was building this pipeline, the US would have downplayed the Al-Queda/Taleban association because, simply put: the Taleban was on board.
Mike S, USA

John McVey, Scotland, your view sounds reasonable, so it seems, the whole thing is a conspiracy. Therefore, was the attack on the WTC a conspiracy? Merely acted out by the US government, to give a strong enough reason for the US to attack Afghanistan, knowing the people would never stand for an attack on Afghanistan over a pipe?
James, UK

Cease the bombing for at least Ramadan, but build up the ground campaign

Alex Cutelli, UK
I didn't agree with going to war from the start, but unfortunately its now too late to pull out. However, I cant see what continued bombing of urban areas will achieve as its been reported that there's nothing left to hit. If bin Laden's to be caught, surely it can only be done on the ground. So, cease the bombing for at least Ramadan, but build up the ground campaign.
Alex Cutelli, UK

The West should suggest a halt to bombing Afghanistan during Ramadan if Moslems currently fighting fellow Moslems stopped fighting too. Somehow I fear this proposition would fall on deaf ears.
Helen, UK

Stop the bombing altogether now. It's the only hope for millions of dying Afghans. No concert by Paul McCartney for them. No memorial attended by the Queen. Innocent lives are being lost everyday for the sake of Bush and his oil baron backers. Of course for the media "there is no independent confirmation of this"!
Ibrahim, UK

Bombbing must go on, indeed now is hardly the time to stop after having started off the process of 'smoking out Bin Laden' and his gang. Extremists all over the world never had any regard for festivities or religion in their pursuits. Therefore, the US and UK must not submit to a religious festival being used as an excuse.
Sheila, UK

This war is being waged not against Islam, as Bin Laden and the Taleban would love the Islamic peoples of the world to believe, but against ruthless cold-blooded terrorism and a regime, which openly supports it. There can be no let up, Ramadan or not. Would Bin Laden have passed up the chance to bomb the WTC had the opportunity arisen during Ramadan? No way. Despite what the gutter press would like to have people believe we are winning this conflict and will continue to do so as long as we are not swayed by misguided public misconceptions promoted by sensationalist and opportunistic journalism.
Shaun, Teignmouth UK

If the US continues bombing during Ramadan the Muslim world will not take it lightly

Parvez, UK
I believe for strategic and political reasons that bombing should be stopped during Ramadan. If the US continues bombing during Ramadan the Muslim world will certainly not take it lightly. Instability will rise in Muslim countries and more Muslims will be inspired to join the Taleban against the US. That will just make the whole situation more complex and worse.
Parvez, UK

It doesn't matter whether we stop or not. The Taleban and Bin Laden have no regard for human life and after the years that Russia spent trying to conquer Afghanistan, isn't it plainly obvious that this is a lost cause anyway? Lightly bombing this country will just cost taxpayers money with no real result, and for how long must it go on? These people aren't just going to roll over and give up. This is going to end up as a worldwide Vietnam.
Karl, UK

The Taleban will certainly not rest during Ramadan

Sally, UK
The Taleban will certainly not rest during Ramadan. Their objective is to suppress Islam. Regardless of your personal faith, this war is about freedom of religion.
Sally, UK

Over the last decade, due to civil war it is estimated that over a million people have been killed and nearly as many permanently disabled in Afghanistan. This is Moslem fighting Moslem. Do I really need to say any more?
Lorraine Howard, UK

Whether strikes stop before, during or after Ramadan is the Taleban's choice. They give him up, the US gives up its strikes.
Bate Arrah, Ivory Coast

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See also:

04 Nov 01 | South Asia
US rejects Pakistan Ramadan plea
01 Nov 01 | South Asia
Bombing to go on during Ramadan

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