Egyptian Fruit Sellers Name Their Best Dates After President Barack Obama for Ramadan

Obama dates in Egypt for Ramadan (Yahoo News)

For the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Egyptian fruit sellers have named their best dates of the year after President Barack Obama, in a tribute to the president for his outreach to the Muslim world. Dates are the traditional food for Ramadan, which commenced on Saturday in most of the Islamic world. Shops in Egypt have created a new tradition of naming their best and worst dates in a move to let others know the political mood of the country.

Obama’s honor is the result of the landmark address he gave in Cairo in June, in which he said that he wants to improve American ties with Muslims around the world. Those ties were deeply strained under his predecessor, George W. Bush, who was widely resented in the Arab world and whose name was given to the worst quality dates in Egypt in past Ramadans.

Huge barrels in one fruit seller’s shop were piled with “Obama” dates, selling for just under $2.50 a pound ($5 a kilogram). For an additional dollar, there is an even better date, labeled on a sign as “Super Obama.”

One fruit seller named his poorer dates after Israeli Foreign Minister Avidgor Lieberman, who is considered a hard-liner who is particularly disliked in Egypt for once saying its president, Hosni Mubarak, can “go to hell.”

Other low-quality dates were named after Lieberman’s predecessor, Tzipi Livni, and after Bush. They all go for about 17 cents a pound (36 cents a kilogram). Source: Yahoo News

During the lunar month of Ramadan, observant Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex from sunrise to sunset. The observers believe that God began revealing the Quran to Muhammad during Ramadan, and the faithful are supposed to spend the month in religious reflection, prayer and remembrance of the poor.