I’m sure that you may well be aware that we have just entered the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It is an important time of year for many of our staff, and the communities that we serve here in West Yorkshire. Its a time of religious reflection, of fasting, and also of celebration.
I’m not a Muslim, but I think that its important to understand what its all about given that it affects so many of the people that we will come across on a day to day basis. I thought that THIS LINK was a useful, and easy, read. Hopefully a bit of understanding leads to tolerance, a happier workplace and a well served community. I guess many of us may fear saying, or doing, the wrong thing and inadvertently causing offence – yet to not acknowledge the whole event feels, in its own way, somewhat disrespectful. I checked with a Muslim colleague just the other day whether or not ‘Happy Ramadan’ was the right sort of thing to say – it is. So if you are not sure ask someone.
You’ll note from reading the article which I have attached that the month of Ramadan moves each year, as it is governed by the phases of the moon. The effect this year is that whilst we are all enjoying light mornings and the much lighter evenings, the period of fast for those that are observing it is huge in comparison to some years – and a real test for those observing the fast.
There’s also been a lot of media coverage around. Most of it linked to school exams, and interestingly, sales of ‘Vimto’ (Google it). Some of it unfortunately draws upon a negative side of our culture, but I suppose that is inevitable to some extent. I think that overall this is a sign of increased awareness in British society, and that’s a good thing.
Our Muslim colleagues have a difficult month ahead of them. Drinking of any fluids and smoking is off limits during the fast. It’s helpful if meals and drinks of non-Muslims are taken in separate areas to those undertaking the fast. As you’d expect tiredness becomes an issue potentially, and our WYFirespace has some sensible guidance for those fasting, and those who manage them. It also important to recognise that Ramadan is a time when charitable work, and a focus on the less fortunate is important to all Muslims – maybe that’s something that doesn’t fit in with the stereotype that many may choose to promulgate?
As many Muslims will use hot oil to cook during ‘Iftar’ its also timely to remind everyone about some common sense fire safety advice. I though that this LINK on the Cheshire FRS website was very helpful.
Ramadan Mubarak to all our Muslim colleagues and members of the community – and please keep safe.