Former Congressional Aide Katherine Ashworth Brandt hopes an initiative she started will help Muslims enjoy a more comfortable fasting month in D.C. this year. Under Dine After Dark, she urges the capital’s restaurants to extend working hours to accommodate them.
“I want this to be a common business practice,” Brandt, 34, told Religion News Service.
On May 5, observant Muslims will start abstaining from food day-long on the occasion of Ramadan, a month of special prayers. Participating restaurants will open around 4:00 a.m. for “suhoor” meal before the start of daily fasting period. They will also close about two hours after sunset to offer fast-breaking “iftar” meals.
Businesses to benefit, as well
Brandt believes businesses will enjoy serving to higher number of customers but are not fully aware of the potential now. “I think the first step is making business owners realize that there is a market for this,” she added. According to the Public Religion Research Institute, however, Muslims only comprise around three percent of Washington’s population.
Local nonprofit Martha’s Table was the first organization to sign up to the initiative. In addition, it will also operate an “Iftar Car” and distribute 50 free meals to Muslim residents at several locations between 8:00 and 8:30 p.m. during Ramadan. They have been serving food to those in need in Washington from their mobile food trucks.
“All of us need to be more considerate of other people’s traditions and holidays. It’s an important time to be with friends and family and reflect on your values,” said Brandt.