Palestine Gaza Strip Appeal

Palestine Gaza Strip Appeal
Palestine Gaza Strip Appeal

Over 1,000 Palestinians have been killed and around 6,000 have been injured in a series of air raids on the Gaza Strip.

The strikes, the most severe to hit the region since 1967, began at around 11.30 am on December 27 2008 and casualties look set to rise due to a lack of medical capacity on the ground after recent prolonged border closures.

Dozens are still being pulled from the rubble and significant civilian casualties have been reported.

Targets across Gaza were hit, including Gaza City – where most have been reported dead – and the southern towns of Khan Younis and Rafah.

The raids came just days after a truce with Hamas came to an end. World leaders called for an immediate ceasefire but on January 3 2009 an Israeli ground offensive was launched.

Gaza’s depleted hospitals are struggling to cope with the increasing numbers of casualties. The main Al Shifa Hospital is functioning via a back-up generator and many medical staff are working 24-hour shifts.

The majority of citizens are without water, electricity or gas. Food is running out and around 80,000 are estimated to have been left homeless.

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Muslim Beliefs

The Shahadah

The central creed of Islam is the first of the Five Pillars of the Faith, The Shahadah. It is the statement of faith that every Muslim makes that there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is His prophet. Belief in the Oneness of Allah is at the heart of Islam.
The word Islam means ’submission’ but it is also related to the word for ‘peace’. Muslims believe that submission or obedience to Allah and his guidance will result in enjoyment of peace.

Mohammed was born in Mecca, which is in what is now called Saudi Arabia, in 571 CE. Muslims believe that Allah revealed to Mohammed, through an angel, the words which are now written in the Koran, the chief Muslim Holy Book.

Fundamental to the belief in Allah and the necessity for obedience to his will are the Five Pillars of the Faith which every Muslim is expected to do. They are:

  1. The Shahadah
    This is the Muslim declaration of faith as outlined above. To be able to make this confession is what makes one a Muslim.
  2. Salah
    Muslims have to pray five times every day, at the set times, in Arabic, on clean ground, facing Mecca. Preparation for prayer includes wudu, the ritual washing of hands, face an d feet with clean, running water. The prayers are said with ritual movements, one of which is illustrated above. Each movement is called a rakah, the series of movements ending with a full prostration.
  3. Zakah
    Muslims are expected to give one fortieth of their wealth each year to help the poor and needy. It is regarded as an act of worship.
  4. Sawm
    During the Muslim month of Ramadan, Muslims are expected to fast during daylight hours. It is intended to help Muslims remember the less fortunate and to be generous in giving.
  5. Hajj
    Every Muslim, provided there are no health or debt problems, is expected to make the official pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime.