JERUSALEM (JTA) — Egyptian protesters who have been camped out in Tahrir Square in Cairo said they will suspend their activities until after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The protesters, who since early July have been demonstrating against the Egyptian military’s handling of the transition to democratic reform, made the announcement Sunday and said they would return to the square at the end of Ramadan the holy month.
Ramadan began that night with the sighting of the new moon on the last day of the Islamic month of Shaban. Fasting will begin early Monday morning at dawn and end in the evening at dusk of each day for the next month, culminating in the three-day Id el-Fitr celebration.
All Muslim boys over 13 and all Muslim girls over 12 are required to refrain from eating and drinking, as well as smoking. Muslims are supposed to give more charity during the Ramadan month and take their prayers more seriously.
Also Sunday, Syrian troops stormed the city of Hama, the center of the uprising against President Bashar Assad, reportedly killing at least 95 people, according to the French news agency AFP. The crackdown reportedly is an attempt to silence the protests before the start of Ramadan.
The beginning of Ramadan this year coincides with the start of the Jewish month of Av. The fast of the Ninth of Av commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which both occurred on the same date more than 650 years apart.