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Eating and drinking in public can invite Dh2,000 fine or one month in jail

Eating and drinking in public can invite Dh2,000 fine or one month in jail

Though fasting is optional for both Muslims or non-Muslims, no one is entitled to eat and drink in public during the holy month of Ramadan, as per the UAE laws and traditions.



By Ahmed Shaaban/senior Reporter

Published: Fri 19 Jun 2015, 11:59 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:16 PM

Customers purchasing fruits on the first day of Ramadan in Abu Dhabi. - KT photo by Nezar Balout

Dubai - A fine not exceeding Dh2,000 or a jail term of one month shall be slapped against people who eat and drink in public during the fasting hours, a top Emirati advocate and advisor reminded on Thursday.

Though fasting is optional for both Muslims or non-Muslims, no one is entitled to eat and drink in public during the holy month of Ramadan, as per the UAE laws and traditions.

Failing to show this consideration for those who are fasting is punishable by law, and shall be penalised with a fine of not more than Dh2,000 or a jail term of maximum one month, according to Article 313 of the UAE Federal Punitive Law.

Dr Yousuf Al Sharif told Khaleej Times on Thursday that this specific article of the punitive law is in consideration to the feelings of fasting Muslims.

“Muslims are ordered by Almighty Allah to abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to sunset on these blessed days, which fall in the sweltering summer months,” he said.

Hence, it is not acceptable or respectful from others to offend Muslims by carelessly eating or drinking in front of them,” the Emirati advocate added.

“It is kind of consideration more or less, but some people are indifferent and recklessly give no head or respect to others, and hence they have to be stopped by law.”

Dr Sharif, the former deputy spokesman of the Sharjah Consultative Council, underlined that it is also kind of respect to the holy month, which is only a matter of some 29 or 30 days.

“Neither Islam nor the UAE law intervenes in the personal life of non-Muslims. Otherwise, it shows full respect to their beliefs, traditions and backgrounds, no matter we agree with them or not.”

Should anyone want to eat or drink, he or she is free to do the same, but in private, without offending others in this holy month, he pointed out.

“People should respect each others’ beliefs and traditions.”

Major-General Ibrahim Ali Al Shehi, Director of the Criminal Investigations Department at the Ajman Police, was also cited as giving the same warning, mainly for longtime residents in the country.

Al Shehi said first time visitors or tourists to the country will be briefed about the UAE rules and traditions, if they are found violating the mandatory rule. 

“However, the situation is different with long time residents who shall face legal action and penalty,” he said, affirming that very few people have been arrested for such violation as most visitors and tourists are aware of the UAE traditions.

Arif Al Wakeel, Egyptian, said he is training his young children to fast in Ramadan.

“Whoever breaks his fasting is advised to eat or drink in private so as not to hurt others who are hungry and thirsty.”

Wafaa Saqr, Syrian, said it is rare to see anyone breaking his or her fasting in public during Ramadan.

“However, the article is good for reckless people who do not respect others.”

ahmedshaaban@khaleejtimes.com


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