Germany: Ramadan becoming normal

Germany: Ramadan becoming normal

The Muslim fast is becoming so normal, that all German parties celebrate Ramadan.

The Muslim Ramadan is quietly becoming part of the public space in Germany, and thus something which interests non-Muslim Germans - or in any case, something they can't avoid noticing.

"The interest of Germans in Ramadan is growing," says general secretary of the Muslim Central Council, Aiman Mazyek, with satisfaction.

In the past iftar (meal breaking the fast) was only a feast for Muslims, but now various Christian mayor and different political parties across the country compete to invite Muslims to iftar. This is the case in Berlin, where the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) was the first party to introduce the iftar tradition several years ago. Now almost all parties celebrate Ramadan.

"Our invitation to iftar is a sign of our respect for all Muslims who live in this country," says CDU's integration policy spokesperson in Berlin, Kurt Wansner.

In Munich the Social Democrats are organizing iftar for the first time this year.

"The invitation is a political signal that iftar is as normal as Christmas Eve," says Social Democrat councilor Isabell Zacharias.

On TV is was also an issue. RTL 2 shows the sunrises and sunsets during the fast.

Several studies show that up to 80% of Germany's Muslims observe Ramadan, but there are exceptions: the professional Muslim football players, for example, were given the green light not to fast

"Professional football players are allowed to break the Ramadan fast," says Aiman Mazyek of the Muslim Central Council.

He justifies it with a decision by al-Azhar university in Cairo. According to the university's theologists, Muslims are not obliged to observe the fast if it costs them their job.

Together with the German Football Association, Aiman Mazyek published the Egyptian University's decision, and newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung sees this as evidence of the importance Ramadan has in Germany.

"The fasting month has become a social event in Germany," writes the paper.

Source: Kristeligt Dagblad (Danish)