The air at Rumi's House of Kabob, a middle-eastern restaurant in Greeley, is filled with the smells of roasting kabobs, sweet garlic, and warm pita. In the kitchen, you'll find Moein Shafie preparing salads and drizzling olive oil on hummus, while the chef roasts the meat and makes the rice.
It's not too different a scene than what you'll find in any restaurant, except that Moein and his sister Laya – who also works at Rumi's – are operating on empty stomachs. Both are working in the midst of Ramadan, a month of fasting, self-control and reflection observed by millions of Muslims the world over.
Fasting while they work in the restaurant is very different from fasting in Iran, where the two siblings grew up.
“Even if you didn’t fast, you weren’t allowed to eat in common areas of the school in front of other people,” explains Moein. “It’s like that in all public areas. You’re not allowed to get on the bus and have a sandwich in your hand. It’s a respect thing.”