Activists predict street demonstrations rather than quiet reflection will mark the Islamic holy month this year
Nour Ali in Damascus
guardian.co.uk, Friday 29 July 2011
"It is usually the month of reflection and prayer, laying low in the heat of the day, before gathering to watch soap operas and feast as dusk falls.
But this year Ramadan is anticipated in Syria for different reasons: as an opportunity to intensify protests against Bashar al-Assad, despite fears the regime may fight back even harder.
Activists intend to exploit the increased daily attendance at mosques, which have over the past five months acted as gathering points for protests following Friday prayers. Many who do not regularly attend mosque do so during Ramadan, when prayers are believed to carry more weight that at other times of year.....
Security forces have carried out more raids and arrests this week in a sign that the regime is becoming increasingly agitated, attempting to scare people into submission before Monday.
Activists report some mosques being closed for renovation and people being stopped from attending dawn prayers in the Damascus neighbourhood of Midan on Friday. Sermons by the state-backed clergy are expected to be influenced far more than usual.
Trying to prevent worshippers attending mosque will only provoke more anger, said the former political prisoner...."