1. RAMADAN IS BIG BUSINESS.
Although not quite the global consumer behemoth that is Christmas, Ramadan comes in a respectable second. Yes, productivity in the Muslim world plummets during the fast, and government business grinds to a halt. But malls in Istanbul are thronged, and it's one of the busiest times of year for luxury-car dealers in Riyadh. Fast-food chains offer nighttime Ramadan "meal deals," and Egyptians purchase nearly twice as much food as normal. With captive audiences at home for iftar, the nightly breaking of the fast, TV programmers roll out the year's biggest shows: 25 to 30 percent of Arab TV ad revenue comes during Ramadan. Even Australia feels the economic bounce: In the lead-up to Ramadan, exports of sheep (a holiday indulgence) spike up to 77 percent. The Ramadan Meal Deals at fast food joints stopped me in my tracks. But, thanks to the magic of Google, I was able to ferret out a few pieces of photographic evidence:Western-style democracy may not yet be taking hold in the Muslim world, but the power of BK French Toast Sticks cannot, and apparently will not, be stopped.