16/10/06

France: More and more muslims observe Ramadan

Ramadan is being increasingly observed by France's Muslim community - but also for a few French non-Muslims, afp reports. "I do it sometimes to show my support for my Muslim friends," said Lorie, a schoolgirl in the eastern suburb of Montreuil.

The trend is especially prevalent among young adults. 88 percent of all Muslim adults in the country fasted for Ramadan - and 94 percent of those aged under 30 did, according to a recent survey in a Catholic weekly, La Vie.

French anthropologist Malek Chebel, said that the surge in interest in Ramadan "is a phenomenon we've been seeing for 15 or so years".

"Essentially, it's a phenomenon of cultural identification - French Muslims have the feeling of belonging to all other Muslims around the world," he said. The physical rigor of observing daily fasting for a month made Ramadan a sort of macho competition among boys and young men.

Abdel Rahman Dahmane, the president of the Council of Democratic Muslims in France says that Ramadan has become a month of identification for all a community.

>> read the whole story in the Middle East Times (link updated)

SEE ALSO RAMADAN-RELATED:

Blogger Anthrogal (yes, an anthropologist in France and Muslim) has done some Ramadan-blogging

On OhMyNews, Fiza Fatima Asar gives in My Ramadan. From Pakistan to California and back again a nice description:

Ramadans are really so special in Pakistan. It is a different feeling altogether -- an entirely different world. All the restaurants are closed during the day and open right before sunset when people start pouring in for iftars at their favorite restaurants, the ones that stay open all night until five in the morning. (...) When we hear someone say "the city never sleeps" we really needed to visit Karachi during Ramadan to know what that phrase really meant. Boys and young men arrange night cricket matches out in the streets with lights fixed along the street light poles and the neighborhood collected to watch the matches. These matches end right before suhur during weekends.

And she explains:

Ramadan is not just about starving and fighting your thirst. Well, I knew that before too. But in the past I thought, fine, Ramadan is also about charity, about perseverance and about patience. This year I learned more. Ramadan is really about bringing one closer to the other. Ramadan is about sharing and missing people. Ramadan is about loving the other and thanking God they are there to be with you.

>> read the whole text in OhMyNews

On GlobalVoices we learn that during Ramadan there are much more beggars on the street. These people would like to exploit this holy month as much as possible and play on the high level of religious emotions of people during this special time, Tunisian blogger Zayed writes.

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