Scary silence and food waste in the Muslim World during Ramadan - ZEKERIYA KURŞUN

Scary silence and food waste in the Muslim World during Ramadan

The Muslim world, which kicked off the month of Ramadan with various events, local and universal activities, is unfortunately living in a dream world that is far from reality. The Muslim world, which has reduced principles such as humanitarian and Islamic solidarity, understanding each other’s problems and finding a solution to it – which are fundamental Islamic commands – to sharing during the iftar (fast-breaking) hour, is face-to-face with a serious test.

In the last year alone, close to a hundred thousand people died due to clashes. Just as 13 million people were facing starvation in Yemen at the start of Ramadan, during the last eight Ramadans, half of the Syrian population has been displaced. I am not even talking about what happened to Libya in the time that passed between the last two Ramadans.


This year we welcomed the month of Ramadan with the Middle East plan announced by U.S. President Donald Trump, who sold off Jerusalem and aims to further grow Israel. However, there has not been a single peep from the Muslim world. While the voices of those opposing this plan cannot be heard, those who think they are going to fortify their power as a result of this plan are overjoyed. They think they are being benevolent by allowing the “New Palestine,” which is being considered as Israel’s satellite state, to jointly use Jerusalem. Yet, just as this situation violates all UN decisions made after 1967, it also wholly threatens the Muslim world. This article is actually nothing other than Trump’s revenge against the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Istanbul summit, followed by the decisions made by the U.N. General Assembly upon his declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Yet, there is still no peep in the Muslim world.

The stance upheld in recent years against all religions in China and the oppression of Muslims has reached new heights, but failed to burn the ears of those ruling the Muslim world. What kind of impassivity is this? Millions of Muslim Uighurs in East Turkestan are being sent to camps, imprisoned or killed for no reason at all. Hundreds of sanctuaries, mosques, known as the houses of God, are being destroyed and still nobody is moving a muscle.

A great crime against humanity is being committed in China. As the world takes on the role of the three wise monkeys as speaking one’s native tongue, saying a Muslim name, praying, fasting, and what’s more, going to church or passing by Buddhist temples are considered as crimes, how will the Muslim world condoning this be explained?


As war barons continue to amass weapons in the Middle East, as war drums beat in the Persian Gulf and East Mediterranean, what kind of an eclipse of the mind are the leaders of the Muslim world experiencing by happily posing at iftar tables? What is this blindness the fails to learn from the biggest wars in history that are leading the world to destruction; what blindness is this that fails to learn from the war and clashes currently ongoing in the Middle East? The Muslim world’s worship of weapons aside, while the majority of the countries around the world facing food shortages are Muslim, it is impossible to explain the degree of waste in Ramadan. Spectacular iftar dinners, extravagant tables, and the leftovers discarded after these are at disgraceful levels. What kind of Islam is represented by those who consume more than they need – as if to avenge an entire day’s starvation – and harming the environment with their leftovers on one side, and those who fast with sincere faith and break their fast with water on the other side living in the same region? The annual leftovers of Gulf countries in particular is almost three times that of developed countries. For instance, the annual leftover food per person in Saudi Arabia is 250 kilograms, which equates to $14 billion – an amount that exceeds the total budget of many poor Muslim countries. Add to this the diseases, environmental disasters caused by this disaster and the amounts paid in response.

We would not be doing justice if we excluded ourselves, in other words our county, from this picture. The food waste in Turkey during the month of Ramadan is almost equivalent to that of the entire year. There is no need for statistics to see this – one need look only at the pretentious iftar tables around which friends and family generally gather. As a matter of fact, this waste and exploitation is seen not in rich suburbs and luxury hotels alone, but almost everywhere. Just think about the Muslim mentality represented by the understanding that exploits Ramadan by using this holy month as an excuse to sell a menu – that is not as good as those sold during normal times – for a higher price.

Yes, piety has increased in the world as a need. The number of those fasting in the Muslim world has increased. But this turning into a cultural activity rather than meeting a religious and spiritual need that disciplines people is as dangerous as the food threat we are encountering. As a matter of fact, even more so.


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