As an expat in a Muslim country, I never take Ramadan lightly especially when eating, drinking and smoking in public during daytime can land you in jail.
According to Federal law number 3 for the year 1987 and amended in year 2006 pertaining to crimes against religious sensitivities number 313 states anyone found eating, drinking or smoking in public during daylight hours, when Muslims are fasting, faces a month in jail or a Dh2,000 fine.
I know it sounds so restricting and just crap but when you are here during Ramadan, you’ll be amazed at how everyone (non-fasting people) respect the occassion. You won’t find anyone eating, drinking or smoking in the streets that’s why even after 4 Ramadans in Dubai, I haven’t heard of anyone caught, fined or jailed for breaking the rule. That’s how awesome people are in Dubai. 🙂
Muslims who live here in Dubai are lucky – even with most of population are not Muslims, they can fast peacefully without being distracted by the sight and smell of food (or cigarette for that matter). Even in my office, non-Muslims (there are many of us) go to the kitchen to eat lunch or drink tea. When I was in Japan, my Indonesian and Malaysia friends had a very difficult time during Ramadan because it’s an isolated occassion there. There were food everywhere and life went on as usual with the canteens open, etc. I can only imagine how tough it must be for them.
It’s been a week since Ramadan started. Three more weeks of fasting for our Muslim friends and colleagues.