By Abdi Guled, The Associated Press, Jordan Times.
DADAAB, Kenya – As the holy month of Ramadan begins, Faduma Aden is fasting during the day even though she doesn’t have enough food to celebrate with a sundown feast. The Somali mother of three, who fled starvation in her homeland and now lives at a Kenyan refugee camp, says she will fast because she fears God.
Muslims around the world mark sundown during the holy month of Ramadan that began Monday with extravagant dinners after not eating from sunrise to sundown. That kind of nighttime celebration is unthinkable this year for most Somalis, who already are suffering empty stomachs during the worst famine in a generation.
Despite the lack of food, for Somalis like Aden it’s a matter of faith to participate in Ramadan’s fast, even though Islam allows the ailing to eat. Others, though, are ashamed they don’t have enough food for the sundown dinner.
“How I will fast when I don’t have something to break it?” said Mohamed Mohamud Abdulle. “Today is the worst day I ever faced. All my family are hungry and I have nothing to feed them. “I feel the hunger that forced me from my home has doubled here.”
Tens of thousands of Somalis already have fled starvation to the world’s largest refugee camp in neighbouring Kenya, where Abdulle said people can’t fast without food “to console the soul” at sundown.
For most of the Muslim world, Ramadan this year falls at a time of rising food prices and political upheaval. Food prices typically spike during the Muslim religious month, and the elaborate dinners many in the Middle East put on to break the daily fast drive a deep hole in household budgets.
Somalis fleeing famine say they have been unintentionally fasting for weeks or months, but without the end-of-day meal to regain their strength. read more