Saturday 21 May 2016

Choosing Your Dates for Ramadan? Check the Label

With Ramadan fast approaching, it’s coming close to that time of year again when many Muslim’s bulk buy dates as part of their preparations. As with every year, the people at Friends of Al-Aqsa kindly remind us to be mindful of the dates we are buying and #CheckTheLabel

Their campaign kicks off today:

“The #CheckTheLabel campaign is about ensuring consumers check where produce is coming from. This is extremely significant during the month of Ramadan because of the soaring numbers of dates that come from Israel, illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley. These dates are built on stolen Palestinian land, which further oppresses the Palestinian people.”

Having spoken to a number of local grocers and traders in our neighbourhood in East London, my husband has found that their highest sales of the year are during Ramadan and Eid, regardless of whether the grocers are Muslim or not. That suggests to me that we can have a lot of influence as consumers.

In previous year all of the grocers have stocked dates from a number of countries, but by far the biggest displays are for the expensive medjoul dates and most of the brands I have seen are the ones that have roots in illegal settlements. What really bothers me is the large numbers of Muslims I see buying these without a second thought. I think some will not know of the issues surrounding these. Others will see that they are cheaper than fair trade Palestinian dates and buy them only because of the lower price.

This year I have seen more dates from Palestinian sources appearing in my local shops. I find this really heartening, I suspect that more people have become aware that where you buy your dates from matters as the 
#CheckTheLabel campaign has been active in masjids and online provoking discussion and hopefully action.

I haven’t seen Palestinian dates in supermarkets so far (although some carry American ones as an alternative and may have dates from Israel that are not from illegal settlements – I have not been able to check). I hope that this year they see a demand for them and start to consider stocking them.

So insh’Allah please lets 
 - I would rather have less, pay more or go without than buy what is not acquired legally or fairly.

The labels to look out for (image source)

You can buy Palestinian dates from Yaffa or Zaytoun Fait Trade (please do add any reputable suppliers you are aware of in the comments if you know of any).

Image from the London Muslim Lifestyle Show in April 2016 (courtesy of Shutterbug Sister)

Nelson Mandela “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”.

1 comment:

  1. Asalaam Alaikim

    Again a very important post about a topic that most people probably dont know about. What I was going to tell you about was about SKT welfares date4syria. They are selling a beautiful boxful of jordanian dates and all the money goes towards providing bread to a syrian famoly for the month of ramadhan. Checkout their website i have already ordered mine for me and my family. Rest assured that the dates are not from illegal Isreali settlements as well as doing good for our syrian brothers and sisters