A sad state of affairs in a country that is 100% Muslim-
Somali Ramadan…No Iftar, No Mosques
MOGADISHU — With no prospect of food aid and with most mosques closed or seized by Ethiopian troops, what is left of Mogadishu population is bracing for a difficult holy fasting month of Ramadan.
"There is no sign of the fast-approaching Ramadan here," Ahmed Haji, a Mogadishu resident, told IslamOnline.net.
"Hundreds of people are now starving in Mogadishu's southern outskirts."
Somalia has been ravaged by violence since Ethiopian and interim government troops ousted the Islamic Courts, which briefly ruled large parts of the Horn of Africa country in 2006.
A deadly vicious cycle of violence has since claimed more than 6,000 lives and displaced thousands.
Most philanthropists, who used to organize iftar banquets and provide food packages for the underprivileged, have fled the near-daily clashes between Ethiopian forces and fighters loyal to the Islamic Courts.
"Generous people are gone," laments Abdullah Khalif, a young man from the northeastern district of Huro.
According to astronomical calculations, the first day of Ramadan will fall on September 1.
During Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
It's customary for wealthy Muslims and charities to organize iftar banquets of the have-nots during the holy month.
Ramadan will be less joyous for the people of Mogadishu because most of their main mosques have either been closed or seized by the Ethiopians.
"Only two mosques in eastern Mogadishu will open up for worshippers who have returned after relative calm in the district," said Haji.
In the southern district of Wartijili, several mosques have been deserted over the escalating violence.
In Haryali district, the main Hadvoli mosque has been closed as Ethiopian forces took positions close-by.
In Ali Kamen district, Ethiopian forces are using the backyard of the Sheikh Abdi mosque as a detention camp.
A recent report by a local rights group said that 48 mosques have been closed over the ongoing violence in the capital Mogadishu.
"Ali Sofi mosque was a model of Mogadishu mosques," Abdullah Salad, who lives by the mosque in the southern Mogadishu district of Haden, told IOL.
"The mosque was a destination for the poor, especially during Ramadan, offering them food and assistance," he recalls bitterly.
"People will have nothing of that this Ramadan."
The Almighty Allah says,
"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."
- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira