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  • The Friday Round-Up: gourmet dates, Saudi chefs, world’s biggest brands, Muslim Ramadan fashion and fasting with text messages

    This is the final week of Ramadan, and devotions are reaching fever pitch for Muslims. The last ten nights are considered to be extra special, and according to the Quran one of them is “laylatul qadr”, the night of destiny and power.

    In tandem with this heightened burst of spirituality, preparations for Eid ul Fitr, the festival of breaking fast which follows the end of Ramadan, will begin. We’ll have our own celebratory announcement to make for Eid next week, so watch this space!

    In depth

    Have you ever wondered why dates (the fruit) suddenly become so popular with Muslims during Ramadan? Why on earth did Starbucks introduce a Date Frappuccino? And is it really possible to have a gourmet Belgian-chocolate-dipped date? This week we take a look at the significance of dates in Islamic tradition, and how this much loved and enjoyed fruit is taking on new interpretations and developing into new brands: the Islamic tradition of dates, and its new modern twists.

    Ramadan is a time of communications clutter for Muslim consumers, with brands spending huge proportions of their annual budgets during the month of fasting. Here are five top tips on how you can cut through the background noise and make your brand heard.

    Cheat sheet: sharp insights into Muslim consumer markets this week

    Police hope to calm Ramadan rush with iftar meals for motorists as part of a ‘Preserve Your Fasting’ campaign

    Ramadan brings a host of special programming in the Middle East. Take a look at a snippet of new series’ being promoted

    Indonesia’s Industry Ministry aims for the country to be an Islamic fashion capital by 2020 and is looking to Europe as its main export market

    New Saudi chef TV double act cooks up traditional dishes along with meals with a modern twist on new cookery show

    Music of the Arab World: The sound of Islam

    “World’s biggest brand? Not McDonald’s but halal”. Malaysian billionaire businessman talks to New Zealand about ‘halal’

    Halal certification for TV programmes proposed in Indonesia

    Indonesian shopping centre hosts fashion shows to exhibit Muslim fashion during Ramadan

    Work, worship and Ramadan among the Muslims of China, who number at least 22 million and anywhere up to 100m

    “The Arab Spring opened the door to Egypt’s re-entry into Islamic finance

    “Emerging markets in Islamic banking and finance in India and abroad need close to 50,000 financial experts

    How Jeddawis (residents of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) cherish new and old Ramadan traditions

    Ramadan Time! Kyrgyzstan’s Muslims get fasting help via text message

    UK young Muslims spark ‘flash mob’ to share iftar with the homeless during Ramadan

    Ramadan in Bangkok: “The fasting month highlights the vibrancy and cosmopolitanism of Bangkok’s Muslim community”

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