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Muslim Holy Month Coincides With Violence in Some Areas This YearAired December 27, 2000 - 4:23 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Today, Ramadan comes to an end. The Muslim holy month is a time of fasting, prayer and reflection.
But as CNN's Richard Blystone reports, in parts of the world this year, Ramadan has coincided with violence.
RICHARD BLYSTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thousands of Palestinians from the Israeli-occupied West Bank gathered in what they say should be their capital, East Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers watchful as the Muslims prayed at Al-Aqsa mosque, their day of feasting given a bitter taste by three months of bloodshed.
Reaching around the world from Islam's birthplace in Saudi Arabia, the holy month of Ramadan is supposed to be a month of peace, good deeds and spiritual stock-taking. This year, from Mecca's Grand Mosque, strong words from the prayer leader about what he called the sufferings of Palestinians under Jewish oppression.
In several parts of the Muslim world, it has been another month of fighting and mourning, most notably in the West Bank, where most of the nearly 400 dead in this year's clashes were Palestinians.
Leader Yasser Arafat laid a wreath at a memorial, and in Hebron, thousands prayed for the dead. In Lebanon, disappointment for the families of prisoners in Israeli jails after an expected prisoner swap fell through.
And in Indonesia, celebrations went ahead amid tight security and fears of revenge attacks after the deaths of 15 people in Christmas Eve bombings of churches by Muslim extremists.
Algeria's president Abdelaziz Bouteflika and members of his government went to pray amid a new round of guerrilla attacks by Muslim fundamentalist rebels that left nine dead over the weekend.
The total toll during Ramadan: more than 250.
For Palestinian refugees in Gaza, some hope that upcoming talks about a U.S.-brokered peace deal might bear fruit. But with money short, jobs scarce and the landscape blighted by rubble from the clashes, a feast can look a lot like some people's fast. Richard Blystone, CNN reporting.
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