Bahrain: Jail for those eating in public during Ramadan
Bahrain has said it will take strict action against those who publicly consume food during Ramadan fasting hours, which is considered by many to be offensive, local media reported.
Accordingly, violators will face a jail term of up to one year along with a hefty fine. If an individual wants to eat or drink in daylight hours during Ramadan, it should be done indoors and out of sight. As one of the five pillars, or duties, of Islam, fasting during Ramadan is mandatory for all healthy adult Muslims, meaning they have to abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk.
Generally, fasting is not recommended to people who suffer from medical conditions or women who are pregnant. However, the same rules apply to them as well – not to eat or drink in public places. Breaking it in public is considered disingenuous to true Islamic religion and the law.
Furthermore, articles 309 and 310 of the Penal Code criminalize insulting a recognized religious community, its rituals, or religious symbols— with a term of imprisonment up to one year or a fine not exceeding $265 or 100 Bahraini dinars. Fasting during Ramadan means abstinence from all food or drink, including water and chewing gum, from dawn to sunset. After sundown, Muslims break their fast with iftar, a meal which usually starts with dates and water or milk, followed by dinner.
A statement released by the Police media centre also stated that speaking out loud during breaking fast also constitutes an insult to a ritual of religion during Ramadan. Article 309 of the penal code applies when a person speaks loudly or eats, drinks or smokes in public during fasting hours. The law, the statement said, applies to Muslims and non-Muslims, and residents, citizens and visitors.
Offences in this regard will attract jail terms between three months and a year, and fines not exceeding 100 dinars.