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Government Bans Holy-Month Events

Sun., Jan. 21, 1996

The dance troupes, chanting dervishes and clanging tambourines will have to wait until next year.

Fearful of unrest, the government wants residents in southern Egypt to mark the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with evening prayers and religious sermons in government mosques.

The ban on festivities in seven southern provinces follows the sentencing last week of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman and nine of his followers who plotted to blow up landmarks in New York.

Abdel-Rahman is considered one of the spiritual leaders of Muslim militants fighting in southern Egypt. Police said they feared crowds of people might be attacked by the militants, or that militants would use mosques they control to incite people.

Ramadan is expected to start Sunday - depending on the sighting of the crescent moon.

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