Some fast-breaking options for an Itaewon Ramadan

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Some fast-breaking options for an Itaewon Ramadan

Last week Muslims in Itaewon, and everywhere else, started observing the month-long holiday Ramadan. They will be fasting from sunrise to sunset every day until about Nov. 25.
Though the common notion is that Muslims feast every night during Ramadan, the faithful are supposed to abstain from heavy foods in the moonlight hours. So your devout Muslim will lose about five kilograms (11 pounds) over the month, said Azeem Muhammad Khan, the Pakistani-Korean who runs the Maharaja restaurant in Itaewon.
Maharaja and a few other local eateries are serving up free post-fast food to Muslims every evening at about 5:30 during Ramadan ― the others are Usmania, behind the Hamilton Hotel, Taqwa, on the hill, and Al Medina, behind the mosque. Go to these places at dusk and you’ll see Muslims ending their fast with the traditional dates and water, or with other light fare such as samosas or fruit.
Of course, the real Ramadan action is up at the mosque, which also puts out free food at sundown. Reportedly, the special offering there is paid for by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who foots the bill for the post-fast meals at mosques the world over.
Even if you’re non-Muslim, you can still go ― get a Muslim to take you. The mosque usually lays on something substantial with the fruit and water, such as curry rice.
For now, observances of Ramadan here remain lean. For more on Ramadan, go talk to Ahmed Almardi, that Sudanese artist who turns the entrance to the bar Gecko’s into an art gallery every night.
“This is the holy month, so we must be careful,” he’ll say. “We must fast, but we must also keep ourselves pure.”
That’s a particular challenge for the handsome and charming Mr. Almardi, because he’s a big hit with the women who frequent Gecko’s. “You know, we cannot touch any woman, we should not look at a woman,” he explains. “Some of my friends come here and are happy to see me and they want to hug, but I have to say no.”
Mr. Almardi also says that Muslims must also refrain from speaking ill of anyone or otherwise abusing their fellow man during Ramadan.
Must be a hard slog for Muslim humor columnists.


by Mike Ferrin
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