Ramadan is nearly upon us. As this story notes, aside from confronting daily violence, Muslims across the world are broke and will have a hard time with escalating food prices. How exactly that relates to Ramadan, not sure. If anything, now that Muslims will be eating at least fewer total meals, one would assume they would also be eating less food: so how is the “dramatic rise” in food prices some new factor for Ramadan?
Here’s an interesting tidbit indicating the militant origins of Ramadan. According to Ori Hofmekler, author of The Warrior Diet, ancient, primitive man ate hardly anything in the daylight: he was busy hunting and warring. Then, in the evening, the tribe would get together and feast, sometimes to the point of gorging. This is reminiscent of Ramadan, indicating that even Islam’s holy month may have roots in militant dietary habits. Hofmekler himself points out Ramadan as an example. Of course, that he is Jewish and a former member of Israeli Special Forces will only lead to more “conspiracy theories.”
At any rate, make sure you too abstain from food and drink in the presence of pious, fasting Muslims, so as to support, not offend, them. “Muslims prepare for Ramadan as costs rise,” from AFP, August 31:
KARACHI (AFP) “” Muslims across the world are preparing for the holy month of Ramadan, which will this year take place amid sharp hikes in food prices and in many countries an ever present fear of violence.
The start of Ramadan, the ninth and holiest month in the Muslim calendar, is traditionally determined by the sighting of a new moon, which often divides Islamic nations over exactly when to begin the festival.
Even over Ramadan, “divisions” exist among Islamic nations.
For the month, followers are required to abstain from food, drink and sex from dawn to dusk. Activity peaks between “iftar”, the breaking of the fast at sunset, and “suhur”, the last meal of the day before sunrise.
Daily life slows down with many businesses closing early in deference to a religious event which nevertheless could be marred by extremists.
In Pakistan, thousands of police equipped with metal detectors will be deployed outside mosques in cities and large towns to foil any attack as places of worship are crowded during Ramadan, expected to start here Tuesday.
The country is in the grip of a wave of militant bombings and suicide attacks that have seen nearly 1,200 of its citizens killed in the past year in a backlash against Islamabad’s pivotal role in the US-led “war on terror”.[…]
Afghanistan faces much the same problems as its South Asian neighbour.
Police have “special security” in place, deputy interior minister Munir Mangal told AFP, promising “staunch steps” and calling for peace over Ramadan.
Prices of some foods, including the staple wheat, are said to have doubled in parts of Afghanistan over the past year.[…]
In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, prices for essentials such as eggs, meat and cooking oil have surged by as much as 25 percent in one week as the faithful stock up.
In Baghdad, Iraqi security forces have yet to announce any specific measures for Ramadan, but men, women and children have been spending many hours shopping in markets amid an overall fall in violence, currently at a four-year low.
And in the Gaza Strip weary residents will celebrate their second Ramadan since the Islamist Hamas movement seized power in June 2007 under a strict Israeli blockade that continues despite a fragile two-month truce.
Saudi Arabia, which applies a rigorous doctrine of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism, is also gearing up for the festival. It is extremely strict in applying a ban on eating, drinking and smoking in public during daylight hours. Expatriates risk deportation if they are caught violating the rules.
In the Somali capital Mogadishu, where people face daily violence, self-imposed curfews, prolonged droughts and economic woes, the situation is grim. Many people have been unable to go out or buy the foods normally eaten when breaking the fast.
In the Philippines, where government troops have been engaged in heavy fighting against Muslim rebels in the south, commanders will make “tactical adjustments” because of Ramadan, an official said Sunday.