Fatah, Hamas Unite for Ramadan

Despite shared start date for holy month, tensions still run high
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2007 2:12 PM CDT
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a press conference at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, Sept. 7, 2007. Abbas condemned actions by Hamas security forces in Gaza Friday...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Ramadan this year will mark a brief expression of unity for the rival Palestinian governments of Hamas, in Gaza, and Fatah, in the West Bank. The holy month begins today or tomorrow—and deciding the date can cause tension between factions across the Muslim world, the AP reports. And despite the agreement this year, Hamas-Fatah tension remains high.

Fatah has warned it will defrock Hamas preachers who use Ramadan sermons to incite violence or stoke sectarian rivalry. The party also banned fundraising during the month without prior approval, an attempt  to prevent charity from filling Hamas' coffers. Hamas says it believes it will collect money unopposed, having removed all Fatah-affiliated financial oversight from Gaza.