A long, hot Ramadan for many devout Muslims

Aug 10th, 2010 | By admin | Category: Featured

Festivities can last into the early morning, to the consternation of traditional clerics who stress the ascetic nature of the month, in which Muslims believe God revealed the Quran to the Prophet Mohammed.

Egypt, which depends on tourism, is offering rich Arab holidaymakers fireworks, concerts, folkloric shows and displays by whirling dervishes.

But given the family-centred traditions of the month, enticing people to leave their countries is a tough sell.

Egypt’s bars and pubs either close during the month or switch to abstemious menus, with the exception of hotel bars, which serve alcohol only to non-Egyptians to conform with the Islamic ban on alcohol.

Dubai, one of the most popular Middle East cities for party-goers, closes its nightclubs or bans dancing in them.

Consumption of alcohol in the United Arab Emirates is officially allowed only for non-Muslims. But in practice, anyone can drink at licensed hotels and clubs. During Ramadan, hotels close off their bars from public view.

“There are tourists and non-Muslims in the country and they can go to closed bars in which they can be served alcohol” during Ramadan, director of Dubai government’s inspection and tourism permit section, Mohammed Khalifa, told AFP.

“It is not permitted to hold entertainment activities, celebrations, or parties at any time throughout the holy month of Ramadan,” the government said in an August 2 circular.

Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country, will take the opportunity to crack down on Internet pornography.

Quoting a poem at a press conference on Tuesday, Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring called on Muslims to “keep hearts clean in the holy month,” and said that he would target websites and media that carried sexual content.

Despite the fasting, some clerics complain that people end up piling on the pounds during the month, as they over-indulge to compensate for the fasting. The consumption contributes to price hikes.

In Mauritania, the government announced “urgent measures” against the increase.

The global rise in food prices, coupled with the Ramadan spike, also means that less can afford a traditional theme of the month — charity.

Long iftar tables set with free stews and bread that were commonplace in Cairo have been noticeably decreasing over the past two years, with many hosts saying they can’t afford it anymore.

© 2010 AFP

Full Text RSS Feeds | WordPress Auto Translator

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.