Lib Dem Leader Fasting for ‘Holy Month of Ramadan’ in ‘Solidarity’ with Muslims

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Sir Edward ‘Ed’ Davey, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, has received criticism after revealing that he is fasting “for the holy month of Ramadan” in “solidarity with Muslims” affected by the coronavirus lockdown.

“It’s an early rise for me today, as I prepare for my first ever fast for the holy month of Ramadan,” said the dishevelled 54-year-old in a video message shared on social media.

“I want to show solidarity with Muslims who are in isolation during this month, and this evening there will be a Lib Dem iftar, when we have a virtual community meal together,” the MP continued.

“So, Ramadan Mubarak.”

Sir Ed, who served as Energy Secretary during the former Cameron-Clegg coalition government between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats, did not win the plaudits he may have been hoping for, however, with the response to his message being overwhelmingly negative — and accusations of opportunistic “virtue-signalling” providing a common theme.

Many social media users also accused the left-liberal MP of cynical double standards, highlighting his comparative lack of “solidarity” with Christians during Lent — or any mention of the observance on his timeline at all, seemingly — or with religious minorities besides Muslims during their periods of fasting.

“Did you fast in Navratri @EdwardJDavey, the 9 sacred days for #Hindus which just concluded?” asked one user. [A]ny plans to do in [O]ctober month?”

They did not receive a response.

The anti-Brexit MP is not the only front-rank politician to receive flak for appearing to lavish a disproportionate amount of attention on Muslims in recent days, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock having received criticism for heaping praise on their Ramadan “sacrifice” on St George’s Day — but not mentioning the English national day at all.

Critics of the Health Secretary who accused him of having made no mention of Easter either were mistaken, as he did share an Easter Sunday message — although compared to his Ramadan message, which highlighted the Islamic holy month’s religious significance and the contributions of Muslims to public life, it was bland and generic, containing no direct references to Christianity or Christians.

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