Germany: Breaking the Ramadan Fast

Ramadan might not be as present in Germany as in predominantly Muslim countries, but throughout the country and even in the smallest towns, people gather together to break the fast.

At a mosque in Germany's northern-most state of Schleswig-Holstein, the men's eyes sparkle for a moment as they watch pictures on Turkish television of thousands of people ending the Ramadan fast for the day in Istanbul. It's a far cry from the bustle and excitement of that great iftar, the Muslim evening meal that breaks the month of day-long fasting.

Two dozen men have gathered to eat a more modest iftar meal. The group, mostly Turkish-born but with a Pakistani and Bosnian among them, serve themselves meat dishes and fragrant rice with sliced almonds. They wait for the moment of sunset on the day's Ramadan calendar and then each eats the customary date to start the meal.

It does not take long for the ground-floor room to empty as they finish eating. Some move away quietly to pray and others go out to chat in the social room. Outside, most of the population is not even aware that the annual fasting month is happening.

This is a part of Germany, said one man, where the locals keep to themselves and consider themselves sociable if they greet a neighbor and say nothing else all day.


For those seeking the most sumptuous iftar meals, the big city of Hamburg has restaurants that serve halal food approved by Islam, but it is hard to get a seat at an iftar table: during Ramadan, the restaurants are booked out months in advance.

Amid the companionship of the men's nightly meal, some of the talk becomes a cry from the heart against the German society where they live. One young man who has been a university student in the state capital Kiel said he has resolved to move home to Turkey.

"If you were to take out my heart, you would find nothing but love there," he said. "I have no hate. But my heart has grown cold in this place."

Source: Deutsche Welle (English)

No comments: