What makes Fridays different in Iraq?
January 31, 2008 5:54 PM   Subscribe

How would a typical Iraqi's activities on Friday differ from their activities on other days of the week? I understand that mosque attendance will be higher on Fridays, but would trips to markets, restaurants, or other places be more or less common on Friday? Are there major differences between Sunnis and Shiites in this regard?

Background: I am studying the Iraq Body Count data, and it looks like there are fewer attacks against civilians on Fridays. This could be because people don't want to carry out attacks on Fridays, or it could be that attacks on Fridays don't make it into the data because the Saturday newspaper is smaller. I am wondering if there is something else that could make attacks on Fridays less likely, such as people staying home with their families after going to the mosque. The trip to the mosque could make Friday a better time for attackers, but if people stay home the rest of the day it might counteract the effect
posted by thrako to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Friday is the sabbath for Muslims, so it's like a day off in some countries (Saudi Arabia) and others have generally more relaxed rules or no sabbatical commitment (Turkey). It might be, as a day of prayer, a point of peace to lay down arms, but that is speculation.
posted by parmanparman at 6:03 PM on January 31, 2008

Do you have evidence of attacks on Muslims in Iraq on Fridays by non-Muslims, such as Yazidi or Sabeaen?
posted by parmanparman at 6:04 PM on January 31, 2008

Do you have evidence of attacks on Muslims in Iraq on Fridays by non-Muslims, such as Yazidi or Sabeaen?

No, to get that kind data from Iraq Body Count I'd have to read the summary of every incident looking for those kinds of attacks. WITS breaks things down by religion, but they don't include any of Iraq's minor religions, besides Christian.
posted by thrako at 6:26 PM on January 31, 2008

That's sad to hear, the violence against Yazidi (one of the oldest religions of the middle east) is putting that entire world population of believers at risk for extinction.
posted by parmanparman at 7:00 PM on January 31, 2008

There is some activity on Fridays. Two traditional Baghdad markets (souqs) are open on Fridays -- the Ghazil animal market and al-Muthanabi book market. The former was hit by a couple of suicide bombings and the latter appears to have fled a dangerous neighborhood for good, though. You also must factor in the government's Friday curfews, which have suspended automotive traffic in the city for several hours just to prevent attacks.

Here's a story about the 2005 redefinition of the Iraq weekend to Friday and Saturday, which ticked off some who thought of Saturday as the Jewish Sabbath. (Apparently there is no commonly accepted definition of the weekend throughout the Middle East.) But it does seem to indicate that schools (including universities) are closed on Friday.

Friday is a day for hanging out at cafes and restaurants, so I imagine those will be open and packed.
posted by dhartung at 12:00 AM on February 1, 2008

Yeah, it's basically what Sunday is to Christians. The Zuhur (noon) prayers at Friday are especially auspicious when performed communally in a mosque, so you'll have more people (particularly the otherwise-not-so-religious ones) showing up to the mosques there. After the prayers is often a long sermon, so that takes up people's time.
posted by divabat at 12:39 AM on February 1, 2008

This was just on NPR this morning actually... I was in the middle of waking up, so I don't remember all the details, but they said something about a Friday curfew aimed at stopping mass violence like the suicide bomb that killed all those people today. And that the curfew had been lifted, in light of the recent reduction in violence.

There should be more details in the story about that bombing on the NPR website.
posted by allen8219 at 7:37 AM on February 1, 2008

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