Ramadan in Germany: A Test of Faith and Strength of Character

13 August 2010

The Islamic month of fasting began on Wednesday. Most Muslims in Germany
observe the holy month — but in an environment where the majority is
not Muslim, fasting is something many find difficult.

Azima Moustafa und Haidar Omar have lived in Germany for 13 years. As
Syrian Kurds they faithfully observed Ramadan every year in their
homeland. Now, however, they find it increasingly difficult to do
without food and drink in the fasting period.

Mohammed Al-Ibrahim spends weeks in advance preparing himself mentally
for the fasting period. The 42-year-old doctor who lives in Cologne has
been observing Ramadan faithfully for the past 20 years. The Kuwaiti
does find life in Germany a challenge however — and not only due to
fact that the takeaways and restaurants are all open. “I see other
people eating and drinking, I walk past snack bars and takeaways and
smell all the wonderful aromas. It stimulates the appetite and makes you
more aware that you are hungry. But it is finding the will to resist
female charms, particularly in summer, that is the real challenge.”

Those who choose not to observe it, however, are made aware of a certain
disapproval directed towards them from within the Muslim community.
“Some Muslims give anyone who chooses not to fast in Ramadan a hard
time. They tend to point the finger disapprovingly and don’t respect
your decision. But it is, after all, a decision between myself and God,”
says Azima Moustafa. Her decision has even brought her verbal abuse, the
31 year old says.