28 August 2011

Adapting a Ramadan tradition to the all-American diner

Adapting a Ramadan tradition to the all-American diner, by Raja Abdulrahim (Los Angeles Times, 20 August 2011)

Pre-dawn meals, or suhoor, during Ramadan are typically quiet family affairs, but Muslims who live away from home sometimes organize group outings to all-night diners such as Fred 62 in Los Feliz.
In a country known for its all-night diners, it may have been just a matter of time before the all-American love for breakfast at any hour became wedded to an important Muslim observance. After all, fasting is just as valid when the pre-dawn meal comes with a side of home fries.

"We definitely are seeing young Muslims celebrate Ramadan in a way that is uniquely American," said Soha Yassine, youth coordinator at the Islamic Center of Southern California.

Large communal dinners are a signature part of Ramadan, a time of prayer and dawn-to-dusk fasting. But the pre-dawn meal known as suhoor is typically intimate, prepared at home and shared among members of a household.

For young Muslims in America — more likely than their counterparts elsewhere to live on their own, often far from relatives — suhoor meals with friends have become a way to replicate the family experience and make it their own.

Two years ago, Yassine and her friends ate suhoor at Denny's so often that she began following the restaurant chain on Twitter to get updates about the changing late-night menu. That year, she met her now-fiance at a suhoor party for Los Angeles natives and transplants at a friend's home.
Link: Adapting a Ramadan tradition to the all-American diner