Paris Muslims break Ramadan fast in soup kitchen

September 13, 2008

Volunteers distribute soup at Paris Ramadan soup kitchen, 12 Sept 2008/Benoit TessierPARIS (Reuters) – It’s sunset in the French capital, and hundreds of hungry people are poised to begin their meals at the sounding of a Muslim call to prayer.

Elsewhere in the world, the call rings forth from the minarets of mosques, but inside a tent in a gritty part of north Paris, it comes from a tinny radio speaker.

For the holy month of Ramadan, a soup kitchen has opened outside Cite Edmond Michelet, a tough public housing project in Paris’ notorious 19th arrondissement. On the menu is a traditional dinner, starting with yoghurt and dates.

I heard a lot more stories that could fit into this feature on the Ramadan soup kitchen in Paris (click here). One thing that was surprising was how many people there said they had professions and jobs and so didn’t really need the free meal. I met an architect, a waiter, a hairdresser, a construction worker — lots of people claimed they were working, or had come to France to work.

Paris Ramadan soup kitchen tent amid tower blocks, 12 Sept 2008/Benoit TessierSome said they were at the soup kitchen for its community feel and chaleur (warmth), others because they loved the soup. One fellow said “It tastes exactly like mom used to make” but since she lives so far away in the suburbs, he can’t visit her often. He even brought a thermos to take some soup home.

It took us a while to get any images as people were quite camera shy. A volunteer told me that many might fear being on television because they had invented stories of successful lives in Paris and didn’t want to risk having relatives see them accepting charity.

One comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

The simple act of giving and expecting nothing in return. Perfect and pure. Alhumdulilah. One day this may be a normal and everyday happening until everyone is properly fed, clothed, have proper medical treatment, housed and educated. Inshallah. This is a wonderfful start and example of what is possible and can we all respect, learn and replicate this action for the benifit of others. Thank you.

Posted by ironman2005 | Report as abusive