Italy Muslims Told to Break Fast or Lose Job
IslamOnline.net & News Agencies
Muslim farmers in the northern province of Mantua are ordered by a local farming committee to drink water during Ramadan or lose job. Muslim farmers in the northern province of Mantua are ordered by a local farming committee to drink water during Ramadan or lose job.
Mantua, Italy — Muslim farmers in the northern Italian province of Mantua are being ordered by a local farming committee to drink water during the daylight of the fasting month of Ramadan or lose job. “There is no work contract and no legal provision requiring us to drink during Ramadan,” Ben Mansour, a representative of the Mantua Islamic community, told ANSA news agency late Thursday, August 13. “If any Muslim worker is fired for this, then we will contest it.”
The Farming Safety Committee has ordered all farm workers in Mantua to drink water while working for safety reasons. It warned that Muslim farmhands who refuse to drink water will be temporarily suspended and would be fired if they insist not to drink water during daylight.
“We made the order because we want to safeguard the health of our workers as much as possible,” Committee President Roberto Cagliari said. “The refusal to drink water on the part of various farmhands in melon fields during Ramadan last year created considerable problems.” The dawn-to-dusk fasting month is expected to start next week.
During Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain during daylight hours from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset. Italy has a Muslim population of some 1.2 million, including 20,000 reverts, according to unofficial estimates. Own Decision Mansour, the Muslim representative, said that Islam allows the faithful to break fast if they feel ill. “If a Muslim farmhand feels unwell, he can take a break,” he said. “If he then realizes that the feeling is not a passing one, he may take a drink.” Islam allows ill persons to break their fast by following the judgment of a doctor who is Muslim, well-versed, and trustworthy.
Forcing Muslims to not fast in Ramadan is against all divine and man-made laws that dictate freedom of belief for all people. It also goes against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international law that guarantee minorities the right to freely observe their religious rituals and to be protected while doing so. Mansour said that breaking the fast during daylight is a decision to be made by the Muslim himself. “But that is his own decision and no one else should be able to force that on him.”