DERYL DAVIS: Malaly Volpi is one of the lucky ones. She and her family have a comfortable home, plenty of food, and security. They escaped Afghanistan long before the Taliban or Osama bin Laden. Like many Afghan Americans, she wants to see her homeland rid of both, but she's increasingly concerned about the costs of America's war on terrorism.
As Ramadan approaches, the American military faces a difficult
challenge: how to win the war against terrorism without
losing the hearts and minds of Muslims during their most
MALALY VOLPI: More Afghanis are dying under bombs
right now without any fault of their own. They had absolutely
nothing to do with this. The Taliban, with the terrorists,
with Osama bin Laden, and they are the ones that are suffering.
DAVIS: That suffering will be on the minds of Muslims
during the month of Ramadan as the faithful rededicate themselves
to the principles of Islam.
MS. VOLPI: It's not going to be a happy month. Because
for us, you know, we're always going to hear about the suffering
of the Afghan people.
DAVIS: As the war in Afghanistan continues, pressure
is growing throughout the Muslim world for the U.S. to suspend
its military operations during Ramadan, the holiest time
of the year for Muslims.
PROFESSOR AKBAR AHMED (American University): It is
the month when the Koran was revealed to the prophet. So
it's the month when, in a sense, God talks to humanity.
PROFESSOR KHALED ABOU EL FADL (UCLA Law School):
In Islamic theology, what is expected is that Muslims make
an extra effort, an added effort, to peacefully resolve
conflicts and to avoid violence.
DAVIS: Some scholars warn that military action and
a growing humanitarian crisis during Ramadan could increase
tensions between the Muslim world and the West.
AHMED: During this Ramadan, the hot, number one topic
will be Afghanistan, because every preacher will be saying
our brothers and sisters are being killed -- killed for
no reason. They will not see this as a war against the Taliban.
They will see this as a war against Muslim people in Afghanistan.
DAVIS: Scholars say Islam does not prohibit warfare
Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel during
Ramadan in 1973. Iran and Iraq, both Muslim countries, waged
war over Ramadan during their eight-year struggle in the
These Afghan Muslims, former Mujahedeen fighters, battled
the Soviets in Afghanistan. They didn't stop for Ramadan
KOHISTANY SHAH (former Mujahedeen fighter): If we
had stopped fighting during the Ramadan, Russia could have
succeeded on us. Like today, if the United States is going
to stop bombing the Taliban, the Taliban could recruit all
their soldiers in their front line.
DAVIS: There's also nothing in Islam, scholars say,
that prohibits the pursuit of criminals at any time.
ABOU EL FADL: When we fight bin Laden and his supporters,
we are not engaged in warfare against average, everyday,
common Muslims. We are engaged in warfare against criminals.
Ramadan should not be a vehicle for criminals to attain
a degree of reprieve.