In D.C., a call for restaurants to give fasting Muslims an alternative to IHOP in Ramadan

Religion News Service | 4/25/2019 | Staff
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(RNS) — When it comes time for Muslims to break their Ramadan fast at sundown during Islam’s holy month, they traditionally start with a few dried dates. For their last full meal before a full day of fasting, many American Muslim families down a plate of pancakes at IHOP.

It’s not because Muslims like pancakes more than other Americans. It’s because the 24-hour pancake house chain is often the only local restaurant open at suhoor, the meal eaten just before the ritual fast begins at daybreak.

Initiative - Dine - Dark - Muslims - Living

A new initiative called Dine After Dark wants to change that, at least for Muslims living in and around the nation’s capital.

Katherine Ashworth Brandt, a former congressional aide now studying political management at George Washington University who founded the campaign late last year, is urging Washington restaurants to expand their hours next month to accommodate Muslims celebrating Ramadan, the 30 days of fasting that begins May 5 this year for most Muslims.

Business - Practice - Brandt - Customers - Places

“I want this to be a common business practice,” said Brandt, 34. “I want customers to be able to expect that places will be open when they need them during Ramadan.”

Restaurateurs participating in Dine After Dark would open around 4 a.m., to give Muslims two hours before sunup to eat before abstaining from food and drink for the rest of the day, or close around 10:30 p.m., about two hours after sunset, when observant Muslims break their fast. Depending on their business models, some restaurants would expand both morning and evening hours. Two extra hours may not be enough to serve all Muslims’ needs, Brandt acknowledged, but it’s a start.

Brandt - Dine - Dark - Restaurants - Christmas

Brandt compared Dine After Dark to Chinese restaurants that stay open on Christmas, and therefore have become a traditional, if circumstantial, standby for Jews and Muslims on the Christian holiday.

“Not only would this make Muslim consumers’...
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