Monday, June 12, 2017

Tunisia: People protest for the right not to fast during Ramadan

(Tunis) As you may have gathered, the Islamic world is in the middle of Ramadan, that self imposed act of taking a month out from day to day living in which to take reflection on what really is important to you - life. The thing is, whilst there is no compulsion to partake in Ramadan, in each and every Islamic country going, if you don't, is it frowned upon. Not only that, but in a large number you will be punished. Well, for a number of people in Tunisia, this isn't on. So, today they held a protest in which to demand the right in which not to fast.

A protester in Tunis openly smokes a cigarette and holds a placard reading in French "Why does it bother you if you fast and I eat?" during Ramadan

Dozens of Tunisians demonstrated Sunday to demand the right to eat and drink in public during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and to protest against non-fasters being arrested. There is no law against eating or drinking in public during Ramadan, but every year the issue comes to the fore in the North African country. Tunisia's constitution guarantees "freedom of belief and conscience", but the state is also the "guardian of religion". Following a call by the "Mouch Bessif" (Arabic for "Not against our will") group, protesters in central Tunis shouted that "Individual freedom is guaranteed by the constitution!" One man openly smoking a cigarette -- this is also deemed unacceptable during Ramadan daylight hours -- held a placard in French that asked: "Why does it bother you if you fast and I eat?" Demonstrators also protested against the arrest of people who were not fasting. At the beginning of June, four men were sentenced to a month in jail for "public indecency" after eating outside during daylight. demonstrator Karim Chair told AFP.
"We're protesting about lawsuits against non-fasters... Whoever wants to fast can fast, but whoever doesn't want to shouldn't have to."