By: V4 Agency
The Milan school cooperative has raised objections against forcing Ramadan rules on children, arguing that the day-long fasting has a negative impact on their natural development. A human rights organisation and the Islamic community accuse the school association of Islamophobia and the violation of personal freedoms.
A circular letter issued by the director of a school association in Milan would prohibit children’s fasting at school during Ramadan.
During Ramadan, Muslim believers may not eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset for a month. The religious practice may cause damage even to healthy adults’ bodies, but it has an even more negative impact on schoolchildren. Several reports are circulating of primary school students fainting in class. Although the rule does not apply to small children, their parents and radical imams tend to force it on them anyway, despite the fact that it runs counter to the teachings of the Quran.
The director of the school association in Milan called attention to the fact that “maintaining the bodily and mental health of the children is the responsibility of the school staff.” The director is contemplating filing a report with the authorities as Ramadan rules should not apply to children.
Muslim parents, however, did not welcome this interpretation of the Quran. Some of them cried Islamophobia and the restriction of personal freedoms, branding Italians as xenophobic.
The Quran offers a flexible interpretation of the rule of fasting, Yahya Pallavicini, an imam of the al-Wahid Mosque in Milan explained to the Libero newspaper. Pallavicini stressed that the rule only applies to “adult Muslims in good health” and that “the adequate growth of adolescents should be guaranteed.” Pallavicini added that the debate was misleading.
“No one wants to deny freedom of choice, but we had a child who fainted at school because of fasting, there were others who were no longer able to play sports or go on trips because of fasting. The biggest problem, however, is the lack of drinking, as it upsets the psychophysical balance of children”, Laura Barbirato, the principal of one of the schools in the association told the FanPage news portal.
The school association’s staff has read the religious provisions on fasting. They set out that minors, elderly people, people with mental disabilities and chronic illnesses, travellers and pregnant women were exempt from fasting. The association decided to report this to all parents and have them sign a statement in which they acknowledge that Ramadan rules do not apply to children.”