16 August, 2011

Clandestine Croissant, Anyone?

I'll be honest. This fairly trivial post is occasioned in part by the desire not to see ten weeks' blog silence extend to a full quarter. That would almost feel like a final lurch from moribund to just plain dead. Do we, as a community, really have so little to say?
Anyway, here's your starter for ten: what harm would it do to allow food outlets to remain open during Ramadan? Take for example Le Dôme cafe in BurJuman Centre. They are open for delivery or take-away service only. Where is the sense in that? Someone might just buy half a pound of mince and a packet of lentils from a corner shop to cook after sundown, but a grilled cheese croissant and a café latté?? It's hardly likely that's going into the fridge to be fresh for Iftar. If we're happy to acknowledge that many people in town are not fasting, why can we not also let them sit down in comfort to eat their lunch? The daylight is so bright that it's barely possible to see in through the windows, so the temptation argument doesn't apply. And as those who are fasting have no good reason to step inside, the thing would seem to be self-policing. I'm convinced :-)


Lirun said...

its interesting..

over here in israel during yom kippur fast the country is pretty much closed.. except for the arab neighbourhoods..

this is understandable..

where it gets more confusing is the mixed neighbourhoods like where i live.. its maybe 15% arab but their stores are wide open and the local arabs ignore our custom of not driving or playing loud music and its hard..

on the one hand - i can understand their lack of desire to participate and on the other i can understand how offensive many of my fellow jews find this to be..

i think the key is balance.. and if the shops are indeed well concealed and in an area frequented almost solely by foreigners then why not..

Chick Flick Journal said...

Hmm personally I think because the UAE is a muslim country and it's the right thing to do. As long as the delivery service is there why should the restaurant be open? This is the beauty of Ramadhan, it has to be different than the rest of the months. Non muslims can order in. That's just my opinion:)

Amal said...

I find your post extremely offensive.

We do realize that many people are not fasting, therefore there are open restaurants during the day (and not only for take out or delivery- take for example the ivy and tokyo@the towers).
Just how christmas has its "spirit", so does Ramadan. You decorate malls, clinics, and workspaces with ornaments (which, oh by the way, happens in Dubai too to make you feel at home) we enjoy the humility of Ramadan when no food is in sight. Yes, we do.

I am constantly baffled by the ignorance and insensitivity of expats.

You get all of your regular amenities here, in abundance! You get to drink alcohol, have pork, enjoy your lives as though you never left your home town.and what bothers me the most is that you walk around in the skimpiest outfits (and i respect that, if it were in a non-muslim country) when our religion and tradition require modest clothing.

We give you your freedom, but you shouldn't ask for too much. There are limits that are drawn by respect- and obviously, you have none.

I would appreciate your mutual respect. We may be a small population, but we belong to these grounds and our loyalty is for the President, the flag and Allah.

Para Glider said...

@Amal - it is your prerogative to take offense if you like, even though none was intended. Food inside a restaurant is only in sight if you enter. I'd imagine that if you are fasting you wouldn't wish to enter.
There is no call to talk about ignorance, insensitivity and lack of respect. That is uncivil and dare I say, contrary to the spirit of Ramadan. You don't know me from Adam, and should not rush to judgment.

Anonymous said...

Some restaurants are definitely open during the day. I was particularly pleased to find Shakespeare Cafe on SZR open inside...however, I was disappointed to find that they also were allowing smoking (including some genius that decided to light a cigar) within the curtained-off area. You could barely taste the food over the smell. Disgusting.

rosh said...

Amal, whilst I agree with some of your views, I do feel your "rant" defies the true spirit of Ramadan. It comes across tad offensive. Please don't judge the "expat" community in haste. You don't know the people who make up this community. There are the good and the bad in every set of baskets, including the expats, and your own community. In a multi-cultural town like the UAE, mutual respect and understanding, goes a long way.

Now pardon my ignorance, and do educate -- does it state anywhere in Quran, non fasting folks cannot (or should not) dine in an eatery during Ramadan? And, what is the UAE law(s) on this subject? Perhaps that’s a good start to better understand cultural (and state) expectations.

Para Glider said...

Opening a few 'classy' restaurants in places like Emirates Towers doesn't really help the great number of working people in Bur Dubai and Deira. In fact it has echoes of:
The rich man has a cellar and a ready butler by him.
The poor must steer for his pint of beer where the saint can't choose but spy him.

Delivery and take away are of limited help to people who are working in public view. An open discreet cafe answers much better.

Kyle said...

Unless there is a separation of religion and state, this trend of restrictions amongst many others will continue.

More so, a tidal wave of democracy, free thinking, respect et al sweeps across the region. And by free thinking, I imply; not-forced / fed, or brainwashed kind.

Religion and all its convictions are good but fanaticism is a demon.

Just Another Blogger (JABBA) said...

I don't really see the big deal of cafes and restaurants being either closed or take-away/delivery only during Ramadan. People who may need to eat for health reasons (i.e. diabetics), children, toddlers, are permitted to anyway, and there's no harm for non-fasting folk to abide by a change for 30days.

I think it's quite soulful to share in some way the spirit of Ramadan, and understand what is Ramadan. It's not only about zakat, and fasting.

Just Another Blogger (JABBA) said...

Also, in regards to the silence of the community blog for awhile (and perhaps your reason for the post ;) ), I have noticed the lack of activity here, though not necessarily on UAE-centric blogs.

Maybe there's just not that much to comment about that hasn't already been commented on. Locally, I mean. Perhaps we've dropped to observation status, rather than rattling commentary (often times falling into debate reflecting exactly how much of a divide there is in a small community) on everything from Engrish to yet another "what's wrong with Dubai" article.

Complacency, nothing new to talk about, or life just swallowing everyone up. Dunno.

Anonymous said...

Continuing from what Paraglider said what I do not understand is the random nature of ban on eating. Restaurants in hotels and areas such as DIFC and Media City are open for business while even enclosed areas such as food courts within malls are closed.

This was the case during New Year celebrations a couple of years ago when 5 Star hotels were allowed to host parties whereas other venues were forced to cancel.

Para Glider said...

Anyway, mission accomplished (partially). I'll go back to sleep now. Next?

knicq said...

I fail to understand the compulsive Ramadan we force on non-Muslims in some of our countries just so we can go through the day without any temptation.

One of the fundamental objectives of a month of fasting while being on best behavior in all aspects is to be able to empathize with the less privileged of our fellow human beings - who go through their lives, not just a month, living on less than necessary food while all around them we go about our gluttonous ways. How is that purpose served in anyway, when we force fasting on all and sundry who are not even bound by Ramadan?

In countries like UAE, where there is a large percentage of non-Muslims, the idea of banning food during the day becomes all the more ridiculous - especially when we Muslims will go about gorging ourselves on special treats after Maghrib till Fajr. The way Muslim ummah in general approaches Ramadan now is in plain contradiction to the very spirit of the holy month. Granted, Ramadan is not all about abstaining from food in teh specified hours, it is about a lot more than that - but when we stumble at the very first level, what does it say about us?

Add to that the baffling assertion from many amongst our ranks that courtesy demands that non-Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and smoking while we fast. Does no one see how that is a paradox, an oxymoron of a concept? Courtesy is extended never enfroced, and there the matter ought to rest.

Anonymous said...

@Amal, I am also constantly baffled by the ignorance and insensitivity of expats towards the customs of Islam.

But I also find your lack of tolerance and unwillingness to accept debate and question things even more offensive.

Your attitude of "you are in my country and you should feel lucky we let you do as much as we do" is counterproductive. And if you want to join the rest of the world (at least the western world as the UAE is so keen to do) then you have to play by everyone's rules.

I know of no Christian country where they throw you in jail for not following their traditions, let alone express your opinions.

The rest of the world is of the view that your religion is stiff and unable to accommodate debate and free exchange of ideas.

Your comments here do nothing to placate those views.

The original poster was respectful - you were not.

Chick Flick Journal said...

i kinda agree with amal

Ali said...

Anon, just to clarify its not the religion that is stiff but some interpretations of it. That is the reason people can eat during ramadan in public in countries like Malaysia and Turkey.
The strict laws in the Gulf dont apply to children but i know cases where parents of a 3 year old were rebuked for giving water to their crying child in a bus
in that case its a personal extreme interpretation even stricter than the countrys laws

Mrs. Azucena said...

Amal, mashaAllah. This is an issue of respecting your host. Remember you technically have no rights here and you can get kicked out at a moments notices. Keep that in mind before you speak.

In the US no one dares say anything about Christmas being wrong or a hypocracy. My Jamaican friend in Eatonville, New Jersey told her son that there was no Santa Claus and she got called into the school after the explained his views to the other kids. The teachers told her that she and her child had to keep their opinion to themselves because it was damaging the other kids.

Really, if it was up to me, before I let any of you ungratefuls in this country I'd make you sign a loyalty oath and limit your right to be 'you' to only on Satudays and Sundays. The rest of the days it would be long sleeve shirts and skirts and milkshakes only. No, worm infested pork, no Harvey Nichols, and only Evangelical swimwear.
The rest of the time you would have spend pining for all of the 'great things you left home'.

Then, you would have the right to complain. It's characters like you that caused the Iranian Revolution. You know if you were at home you probably be digging in the trash looking for food,or conning your friends out of their stuff- which is why you came to the UAE in the first place. And if you've come for adventure, you've obviously had enough, so go home.

Para Glider said...

@Mrs Azucena - I'm afraid your message is barely coherent. The biggest problem is trying to work out whom you are addressing as 'you'. It seems to keep changing with each half-formed thought.
I'd like to respond, but I really don't know what you're talking about.

Kyle said...

Mrs. Azucena:

Evangelical swimwear

I actually giggled -- sorry Googled it -- but found no coherent definition.

Oh, and one more thing. Please stop portraying yourself as some supreme being with supernatural powers because you're as mortal as me or others that post on this board.

unJane said...

Where to begin? Hmm..
*Why are Emirati Defenders of the Faith always so angry?
*This is just another job posting when you work for a multi-national firm. It doesn't mean you can't get a job in your own country but rather you have a special skill set for getting along (putting up?) with other cultures.
*Re minimal posts of late ~ I think it has something to do with the random arrests. Makes people nervous to speak up. Lack of freedom of speech and all ~ which I miss ever so much more than munching an apple in public one month a year.
Did I miss anything..?

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