As Ramadan drew to a close this year, the spectacle of a contrived Muslim rage on the last Friday of Islam’s sacred month — branded “Al- Qud’s [Jerusalem] Day” by Iran’s late leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini – was on display across the Muslim world and in the West.
The Qur’an, Islam’s sacred text, calls upon Muslims to fast during Ramadan as part of prayers and quiet reflection “to ward off evil.” Extremist Muslims, instead, call upon their co-religionists to display their rage against their real and imagined enemies, especially Jews. Most Muslims, however, steer away from such angry demonstrations, which degrade the meaning and purpose of their devotion to fasting and prayers during the month in which the Qur’an was first revealed to Muhammad.
The public display of rage on the last Friday of Ramadan, which has now become a ritual since Khomeini called for it soon after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, is another vivid indicator of how deeply and fatefully divided within itself is the Muslim world.
The causes dividing the Muslim world are many, given the vast diversity among Muslims of ethnicity, language, culture, resources, levels of literacy and economic development. Public display of rage increasingly seems an indicator of the collective frustration of many Muslims in their inability to understand and contend with the requirements of the modern world.