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Egyptian Cleric: Force Citizens to Fast On Ramadan By Law

JAFFA, Israel – A high-profile Egyptian cleric has called on the government to impose stricter penalties on citizens who violate Ramadan.

Sheikh Sameh Abdelhamid said in a televised interview that just as eateries, pubs, and nightclubs are closed during Ramadan by law, the general public should also be legally compelled to fast.

The Islamic State, for its part, published pictures of the punishment incurred by residents of the Syrian town of Kheir who did not fast during Ramadan. In the pictures, six “defendants” were forced to wear a sign saying “smoking but not fasting,” and were flogged in public.

In Mosul, Iraq, the breaking of Ramadan led to civilians being tied to lampposts with a similar sign, according to a video that went viral on social media.

The debate spread to social media.
“When will Jordan cancel the prison sentence and fine imposed on people who don’t fast in public during Ramadan?” Twitter user Eyebrows wondered.
Another user commented that the punishment is not for breaking the fast, but for public eating by those who don’t have a religious reason. “These will be subjected to the appropriate punishments,” he wrote.

The Palestinian cleric Ahmad Massri told Breitbart Jerusalem that imposing the fast does not infringe on religious freedom.

“The Quran says that fasting is incumbent on all Muslims, except those who are exempted – like the sick, people who travel long distances, women during menstruation, and other specific cases,” he said.

Whoever defies the divine commandment doesn’t have to do it in public – because if you eat privately you won’t be punished by law, only by Allah. But if you don’t even bother to hide it, you will be brought to justice, plain and simple. It’s not about democracy and pluralism, it’s about the basic duty to respect the overwhelming majority of society, who abide by the commandment. Why provoke them? Why disrespect their belief? Why tempt them and test their patience? We’d all love to drink in the heat, but we still choose to be faithful to Allah, so why torment us?

Almassri said that IS’s punishment may look cruel, because the organization built a name for itself as cruel and brutal, but humiliating and flogging sinners is the least serious punishment in Sharia law.

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