17 June 2015

You will fast ... or else

.... Gulf states tend to be the most strict in enforcing Ramadan. The typical penalty is a one-month jail sentence and/or a fine, and the law applies to everyone regardless of religion - on the grounds that seeing someone break their fast is offensive to Muslims even if the fast-breaker is not actually Muslim.

.... Ms Elghzaoui spoke about the case of a citizen who was attacked and denounced in the city of Fez and handed to the police by civilian vigilantes last year for drinking in the street. He was free hours later, after his family showed he was a diabetic.

A more successful protest took place in Algeria in 2013 after security forces questioned three young people for breaking the fast. Angry residents of Tizi-Ouzou, a largely Berber area with a relatively secular outlook and a history of tense relations with the central government, organised a public fast-breaking lunch which was attended by some 300 people.

Bouaziz Ait Chebib, head of the local Kabylie Autonomy Movement, explained: "We called this gathering to denounce the inquisition and persecution of citizens who, because of their beliefs, refuse to observe the fast." [al-bab.com] Read more