Violence Casts Shadow on Muslim Holiday

October 23, 2006

Source: Beliefnet

Wire Service: AP

Women in southern Lebanon wept at the graves of loved ones killed in the Israel-Hezbollah war, while many Iraqis stayed home amid fears of violence Monday at the start of a major holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

The three-day holiday of Eid al-Fitr is customarily celebrated with family gatherings, presents and lunchtime feasts, but fighting has cast a shadow this year across much of the Middle East.

In the bombed-out villages of southern Lebanon, the mood was somber and the festivities muted.

"There is no Eid. There is only sadness and desperation and fear for the future," said Salma Salameh, a 43-year-old teacher in the predominantly Shiite village of Blatt.

Many Lebanese gathered in cemeteries to pay their respects to the more than 855 Lebanese who were killed during the 34-day war, most of them civilians.

In the southern village of Qana, where an Israeli airstrike on July 30 killed 29 Lebanese, women dressed in black wept over the graves. In Aitaroun, which lost 41 villagers to the war, families laid flowers and read Quranic verses at the graves.