Monday, September 01, 2008

Ma'an: Checkpoint soldiers told not to eat in front of fasting Muslims

I see stories like this from time to time involving the notion that it is insensitive to eat in front of Muslims fasting on Ramadan. The whole idea does not resonate at all with my own experience of fasting on Jewish fast days. You don't necessarily want to be sitting across from someone in the middle of a meal, but I can't remember any situation in which I even noticed that someone out there in the world was eating. I try not to run one of those blogs that sees every public accomodation of Muslim religious practices as Dhimmitude, but are Muslims taught that eating in front of them on Ramadan is an affront of some sort?
With the Monday morning start of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, Israeli forces gave directives to soldiers manning 470 checkpoints in the west Bank to avoid eating in front of Palestinian citizens when they pass through checkpoints.

The directives also instructed soldiers to avoid smoking and drinking in front of Palestinians as a sign of respect for those who fast as a religious act.

The Israeli civil administration further decided to allow Palestinians living in Israel access to the West Bank (what they called “Palestinian Authority areas”) in order to visit their families. Money will also be permitted to be transferred to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, so they can buy the appropriate foods for breaking their fast.

Israeli authorities also promised to coordinate with the Palestinian ministry of endowment about increasing number of permits given to Palestinian Muslims to enter Jerusalem so they can perform their Ramadan prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque. [...]
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Update: Isreallycool explores a different angle on this story.

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