22 July, 2012

Respect Ramadan sentiments, govt tells non-Muslims

Respect Ramadan sentiments, govt tells non-Muslims

A busy market


Sunday 22 July 2012

he Ministry of Interior has urged non-Muslim expatriates to understand the sentiments of Muslims and respect the sanctity of Ramadan by not eating and drinking publicly during daylight hours.
“The non-Muslim expatriates in this country should respect the sentiments of Muslims by not eating, drinking and smoking in public places, including roads and workplaces,” stated an Interior Ministry statement issued by the Saudi Press Agency.
The ministry warned that those who violated the regulations will have to face deterrent punishments such as deportation or sacking.
The statement added that eating and drinking openly during daylight hours are seen as an embarrassment to Muslims, as abstaining from foods and drinks are one of the visible features of Ramadan since fasting was made obligatory to Muslims centuries ago.
“Being a non-believer of Islam does not exempt an expatriate from being inconsiderate of the feelings of Muslims and the Islamic symbols of this country,” the ministry said.
The statement also said that the ministry hoped workers would honor the terms of their work contracts, which stipulate that anyone living in this country should follow the laws of the Kingdom, including respecting religious sentiments.
The statement also asks companies and establishments to explain these instructions to their employees.
Restaurants and eateries will only open at sunset, the time fast-breaking occurs.
The ban on public consumption will last until Aug.18, the last day of fasting if this year’s Ramadan is 30 days long.
The Ministry of Civil Service and the Ministry of Labor have set the working hours for public and private sector employees during Ramadan. The working hours for all public offices have been modified for the month of Ramadan. According to a Civil Service Ministry statement, government offices will work five hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
On the other hand, private sectors will work six hours per day during Ramadan if employers fix working hours on a daily basis. If employers fix working hours on a weekly basis, then employees will work 36 hours.
An official of the Labor Ministry said there was a provision in the Labor Law that Muslim employees need to work only six hours instead of eight during Ramadan.
There is already a ban on working in the open air from noon to early afternoon because of high summer temperature.


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