With Ramadan in full gear, Muslim business owners report that rising food prices and skyrocketing inflation are altering this year’s celebrations.

Ramadan is a month-long commemoration of prayer, fasting, assembling, and giving in the Muslim community, lasting from March 22 to April 20.

According to Muslim business owners in B.C., they are expected to offer deals and reductions, as well as donate to local mosques and charities, in order to maintain the atmosphere of the season.

This year, however, businesses are offering fewer Ramadan specials and have been forced to increase their prices.

How the increasing cost of living impacts Ramadan festivities

“I am compelled to increase rates. Mossa Mohaidly, the proprietor of the Vancouver-based grocery store Jasmine Halal Meats & Mediterranean Foods, stated, “We’re attempting to be prudent because, ultimately, you have to make it affordable for the people.”

Mohaidly and other business proprietors are requesting that the federal government offer more assistance to minor companies. According to them, a variety of costs, including high food prices, rising rent, and an increase in the minimum wage, have made it difficult for businesses to manage expenses in 2018.

“When you add up the rising costs of logistics, transportation, raw materials, and labor shortages abroad, it’s very difficult for smaller businesses,” said Mohaidly.

Confronting prices

Iqbal Jabar, the proprietor of Barney’s Chicken and Pizza in Surrey, states that he has kept Ramadan costs cheap despite having almost no profit margins.

“This time of year, Muslims and non-Muslims alike are concerned about helping one another,” he said.

According to Jabar, halal products, such as poultry and sirloin, were already pricey to begin with, but prices have increased by 25 to 35 percent. According to him, his halal suppliers claim that their costs have also increased, contributing to the price increase.

“[Small enterprises] are located at the end of the supply chain. There is no one else to charge besides the consumer. But we can only charge the consumer so much.”

According to Mohaidly, halal meat is meat that has been humanely raised and slaughtered in accordance with Islamic customs.

As Ramadan begins, the Muslim community of British Columbia prepares for a month of daytime fasting.

Rushd Khan, the proprietor of Gulberg Restaurant in Surrey, states that kachori, a fried, delicate meat patty, is one of their most popular Ramadan dishes.

According to him, they regretfully increased the price of the patty from $5.99 to $6.99 due to a nearly 40% increase in the cost of components such as flour and oil.

Khan says that while Gulberg will still offer Ramadan specials, none of them will include animal dishes.

“A central aspect of Ramadan is giving backā€¦ Consequently, we would not feel right if we did not participate.”

“As Muslims, we are also interested in similar promotions at other restaurants and grocery stores.”

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