‘Warning’ for non-Muslims caught eating in public during Ramadan

Dubai police say same leniency will not be given to Muslims caught breaking fast during the Holy Month

Iftar and prayers are held at Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai on the first night of Ramadan in 2010. The Holy Month of Ramadan is expected to start this year on August 1 (ITP Images)

Iftar and prayers are held at Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai on the first night of Ramadan in 2010. The Holy Month of Ramadan is expected to start this year on August 1 (ITP Images)

Non-Muslims caught eating in public during the Holy Month of Ramadan will be given one warning before criminal action will be taken, but the same leniency will not be given to Muslim violators who are caught breaking the norms during fasting period, Dubai police have said.

“Sometimes police might see someone eating who doesn’t know the rules so we give them a warning and explain things to them,” Colonel Jamal Al Jallaf, the deputy director of the Criminal Investigation Department, told Dubai-based 7DAYS newspaper.

“But we don’t give any chance to Muslims. They know the law - that’s different.”

The Holy Month of Ramadan is expected to start this year on August 1, with all Muslim adults expected to observe a fasting period during daylight hours, while non-Muslims must refrain from eating or drinking in public.

Those flouting the law can be fined up to AED2,000 or face jail time and Al Jallaf said the law was very clear on the matter.

“The law does not allow anybody to eat during the day in public in Ramadan. We should obey this to respect the culture and the Islamic people.

“If they [police] see someone is refusing to respect the culture or the people, after being told, then they will have a police case against them in court,” he said in the report.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on arabianbusiness.com may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Dcoupet

Just curious, since the UAE has a large diabetic population, what do these people do during Ramadan. Do they refrain from eating as well, or is it okay for them to eat so long as it si in private? Also, what about pregnant or nursing mothers? Do they fast too, or excused?

Posted by: Shamama

Diabetics can fast if they are willing and able, my mother fasts and she has been a diabetic for 25 years. Pregnant and nursing women are exempt from fasting.

Posted by: Taimur

Ramadhan is about "Sabr"...what type of Muslim is that who when see anybody eating can't control himself..is it the teaching of islam..definitely not

Posted by: Marwan

To Dcoupet:
The title states "in public". In Islam, nursing and pregnant women as well as males/females that have medical conditions and need to take medication are excused from fasting during Ramadan. Out of courtesy, it is best to refrain from eating in front of others that may be fasting

Posted by: Lee

We all know the rules so why complain, it's the way it is here. You don't get paid the extra 50 pence to work out here for nothing! If you don't like the fact then go back to Europe and take the pay cut.

Posted by: Mohamed

Since this discussion is still going on, have to respond:

@ Telecoguy, most western countries are secular and religion should be a private matter so if Muslims fast freely in the west they are still abiding by the laws of the land. However, they don?t ask for restaurants and caf�?s to close (which is normal in a Muslim country during Ramadan) cuz its against the law and norm in the west, unlike you guys here who complain about our laws day and night. Of course our laws aren?t the best i.e. property visa confusion. However, this is 1 of our good and consistent laws with the Islamic nature of the country.
(continued on next post)

Posted by: Mohamed

@Telecoguy, as you mentioned Muslims in the U.K can?t legally register more than 1 wife, although Islam permits up to 4. This should be a personal matter and is consistent with the freedom of practicing one?s religion; however, it is unrecognized as a legal marriage. Now that is a contradiction with the freedom of practicing 1?s religion. The France ban on the niqab is another example (I have no issues with the ban, just pointing at the contradiction of freedom of expression and restricting how a women is dressed ? it is ok if she almost undress, the issue is just if she over dress!!)
The real problem is when people are promised freedom and rights then suddenly they discover that those freedoms are tailored to specific countries and societies and they are forced to obey or else (break the law, pay fines, etc)
The UAE is a Muslim country with religion as a public matter (not a secret) and creating laws to preserve the Islamic nature of the country is perfectly normal and consistent.

Posted by: Arabiat

P M Shah....just wanted to point out that you really don't seem to understand what Mohamed is talking about based on your response. UAE is a muslim country with muslim laws, UK and others are secular non religious. If a secular society is to be so called inclusive to all then it should respect all religions else it cannot be called secular. Under islamic law non muslims in an islamic country are free to practive and be judged by their own religion but to ask that a Muslim non secular country change so that seculars like yourself would feel at home is unacceptable in my opinion.

Posted by: P M Shah

Mohammed you are missing the point. In France women can dress any way they like but no one can cover their faces in such a way that they can not be recognized.

Marrying 4 wives may be " allowed " in Islam, it is neither "a must do " nor is it recommended. The basic tenets of Islam - praying 5 times, fasting in Ramadan , and going to Hajj are freely practiced by Muslims around the world even in non Islamic societies without restriction. Marriage on the other hand is a "civil" issue and as per UK civil laws only one legal wife is recognized and this is logical. Many Islamic countries also allow only one legal wife !

If 4 legal widows were to fight over the property of a Muslim in UK, the courts won't know what to do. Non Muslims are judged by Shaira laws here. Let Muslims be ready to live by the civil laws of the country they live in.

Posted by: Laith

Folks, just refrain from your never-ending whining. I have rarely seen anyone consume anything in public so what is your problem and why are you crying wolf as usual??? Nobody is preventing you from hogging and drinking, just do not make a gaudy public display of it. Every nation is entitled to set its own laws, the UAE as well.

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
The Al Thanis are Qatar's power family

The Al Thanis are Qatar's power family

New research sheds light on the overwhelming influence of the...

Raising the bar: DLA Piper plans fresh growth in the Gulf

Raising the bar: DLA Piper plans fresh growth in the Gulf

Legal firm DLA Piper’s Middle East business recorded 10 percent...

With monster trucks and Comic-Con, Saudis defy killjoy image

With monster trucks and Comic-Con, Saudis defy killjoy image

Clerics and many citizens still consider it all very sinful,...

Most Discussed