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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Zanzibar government to jail 'abusers' of Ramadhan

By Hamoud Sai - The Citizen Correspondent

Zanzibar. The Zanzibar government has asked the police in the Isles to arrest and charge anyone caught eating, drinking, or selling food at daytime during the current month of Ramadhan. 

The order was issued on Tuesday by state minister Mohamed Aboud Mohamed at a press conference held at the Zanzibar Television (TVZ) premises. The order followed complains about an emerging habit where people ate and drank in public. 

He warned: “Anyone eating and drinking in public as well as opening a bar, guest house and restaurant is committing an offence.”Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days, in which participating Muslims fast or refrain from drinking, eating and sexual intimacy with their partners during daylight.

Asked if the ban on eating, drinking, and operating restaurants and bars wasn’t a violation of human rights, the minister responded that observing the law was part of respecting them.

“Human rights need people to observe land laws and respect culture. We ask non-Muslims and Muslims who are not fasting to respect the majority believers who are doing it in the islands. Christians and Muslims in Zanzibar have been living and respecting each for decades, and the situation should remain so,” Mr Mohammed said.

Most restaurants are closed in Stone Town, but according to the minister some ‘stubborn’ people still run restaurants, and bars during daytime while others drink openly.