CAP Wants Muslims To Avoid Hotel Buffets To Cut Food Wastage This Ramadan

Instead of breaking fast at hotels, the Penang-based NGO suggested that Muslims should do it at mosques or their homes and invite non-Muslim neighbours to build goodwill and understanding among Malaysians.

Cover image via Lifestyle Asia

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A Penang-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) has urged Muslims to stop the practice of breaking fast at hotel buffets during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which starts on Saturday, 2 April

According to the Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP), Muslims should resolve to make this Ramadan more meaningful and spiritually enriching by avoiding food wastage and practising charity.

Ramadan is supposed to be a month of devotion for Muslims but has become a month of feasting and wasteful spending, CAP president Mohideen Abdul Kader told reporters at the CAP office in George Town.

It is also a source of profit for businesses due to the culture of breaking fast at extravagant buffets.

"Islam tells people to avoid greed, wastefulness, and extravagance, but contrary to this teaching, some people eat and drink so much that they become lazy and neglect the obligation to perform prayers," he said while launching the stop wastage campaign in conjunction with Ramadan yesterday, 29 March.

About 200,000 tonnes of food is thrown away every Ramadan

The quantity of food that goes straight into the rubbish bins every fasting month was cited by the CAP president from a 2016 report by the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Corporation.

The report stated that 200,000 tonnes of food could feed 180 million people.

"Throwing away food is a sin as it deprives food for the needy and the future generation. It also depletes resources and contributes to environmental degradation through the pollution of seas and rivers and the discharge of carbon dioxide, responsible for global warming," Mohideen was quoted as saying.

A Ramadan buffet spread at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

Image via The Food Bunny

Instead of breaking fast at hotels, CAP suggested that Muslims should do it at mosques or their homes and invite non-Muslim neighbours to build goodwill and understanding among Malaysians

According to Mohideen, iftar should be done at home with family members or at mosques in a spiritual atmosphere, but it has turned into a "dinner party with 100 types of dishes" in hotels and restaurants.

"Excessive varieties and quantities of food prepared for 'iftar' and 'sahur' lead to wastage. A lot of food is thrown away by hotels and families into the waste dumps," he said.

Mohideen also urged the rich to share their wealth with the more vulnerable sections of society to uplift them out of poverty and oppression instead of indulging in an "ostentatious way of life".

"One of the objectives of fasting is to feel the pain of hunger experienced by the poor and marginalised so that we will have empathy for them. Millions of people in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Palestine, Myanmar, India, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are facing starvation and yet we are throwing away huge quantities of food in the holy month," he added.

On the topic of Ramadan, do you know how Roti John — a popular dish found at pasar malams and Ramadan bazaars — got its name?

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