Many Western expatriates too find Ramadan blissful

ABU DHABI — Along with the Muslims, many Western expatriates in the UAE too look forward to the holy month of Ramadan and want to benefit from the spiritual enlightenment that it entails.


Silvia Radan

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Published: Mon 10 Sep 2007, 8:40 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:09 AM

Ushi Musch, a German national living in the UAE since 1992, is one among them. “I have liked the life here so much so that I have made the UAE my own,” Ushi, who lives with local families in Jumeirah, told Khaleej Times.

She has learnt Arabic, bought several camels, and is leading the traditional Emirati way of life. “I really like Ramadan. I observe fast although I find it difficult to abstain from water. Every sunset I go to my local friends’ houses and we break the fast together. It’s such a great feeling of belonging! In fact, I become very sad when the Ramadan month draws to a close,” revealed Ushi.

The German woman finds fasting somewhat difficult in the first week. Afterwards, she feels that one gets used to and the body starts feeling lighter and more comfortable. “Ramadan is not just about fasting. It’s time when friends and families get together. The bonds between human beings emerge stronger,” added Ushi.

Pascal Gueyle, a French national, shares the same feeling. Having spent 15 years in the Arab countries, including 10 of them in the UAE alone, Pascal finds the Ramadan month absolutely wonderful. “For me, Ramadan is a month of generosity, a month to be spent with the family.”

In many ways, Ramadan reminds Gueyle of Christmas because of the decorative streetlights, large quantities of food offered after sunset and the general atmosphere of piety and celebration. “I like to sit in the shisha cafes along the corniche in the night. Even though I don’t smoke, I enjoy watching the people around me. It’s a special atmosphere,” he said

Pascal doesn’t usually keep the fast, unless he is invited to the house of a local friend. “When I am invited for iftar or suhour to a friend’s house, then I do keep fast on that day,” said Pascal.

Like in the previous years, Pascal is eagerly awaiting this year’s Ramadan too. “It’s the spirituality of Ramadan that I like the most. It’s a time when people open their doors, building bridges, and everyone feeling a lot closer to each other,” pointed out Pascal.

For Gemma Magill, another western expatriate, Ramadan is a new experience. “I first set my foot in this country exactly on the first day of Ramadan last year,” she said. Liverpool, her hometown, has a lot of Muslims. But she finds the atmosphere here different.

By now she has made quite a few friends, and through them, she hopes to have a deeper insight of Ramadan. “I have heard about the night-time celebrations, but not so much happens in the big cities. I would love to go to the smaller towns of the Western Region to experience the traditional Ramadan nights,” she said.

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