جولائی 24, 2014

In Kerala, Ramzan dates leave bitter taste کیرالہ بھارت کے مسلمان اسرائیلی کھجوروں سے روزہ افطار کررہے ہیں

KOZHIKODE: Many families breaking the Ramzan fast with the customary dates may be unwittingly consuming the fruit grown in Israel. The large, succulent Medjool dates, received enthusiastically by rozadars in the belief these are from Jordan, in fact come from Israel, a country hated in the Islamic world for its conflict with Palestinian Arabs. In the past week, Kozhikode has protests over Israel's ground invasion of Gaza. 

"The costly Medjool dates come from Israel but these are marketed as produce of Jordan. Last year, the packets had 'Tel Aviv' printed on them and we had to remove these labels. Products from Israel won't be touched here due to popular sentiment against cruelties perpetrated by them against the Palestinians in Gaza," said Mohammed Ashraf, a veteran trader whose family has been importing west Asian dates for several decades. 

Dates are big business in Kozhikode with 10,000 tonnes imported annually and valued, according to industry estimates, at around Rs 100 crore. In Kozhikode alone, there are 150 varieties of dates, either grown or imported from West Asian countries. Interestingly, the trade closely reflects the turbulent geopolitical situation in the region. The supply of Barari dates, for instance, along with other popular varieties from Iraq, dried up this year due to the Iraq-ISIS conflict. 

Given the region's Gulf connection, people are aware of the uniqueness of each variety and ask for these by their Arabic names. Among the popular and moderately priced varieties are Sukkari dates from Saudi Arabia, Kimia from Iran and Deglet Nour from Tunisia. For those to whom cost is not an issue, many high-end shops offer exquisite varieties like Ajwa, known as Prophet's Dates, which come at Rs 2,500 per kg. The Medjool too is 'royalty' at Rs 1,400 per kg. TNN

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