DENMARK/SWEDEN. Inger Støjberg, Minister of integration in Denmark, writes in an debate article that there is freedom of religion in Denmark, that religion is a private matter and now ramadan is upon us.
Here in the north of Europe the sun is up for almost 24 hours this time of year. In Umeå the sun goes up 03:10 and down 22:04 and thats many hours without food and water for the fasting muslim. Støjberg want muslims to consider the consequences of this. Is this compatible with working, being productive and safe? Can you, for example, work as a busdriver or a surgeon and fast even though we know that hunger makes a person take more risks?
Of course not! We have all had a schoolmate or a colleague who fasts and they can’t perform. They are so tired that they sit or lay down every chance they get. They don’t learn in school and their coworkers have to carry their load. So Støjberg suggests that muslim take their vacation when it’s ramadan, which I doubt that many are interested in. In muslim countries it’s different since everybody fasts so schools can have holidays and work can go on half speed. There you can stop and rest for a while, but that is not how it works here.
Media have commented on this in different ways, like implying that the Danes have nothing else to do but to meddle in muslims business or that this is an attack on ramadan. Here in Sweden Danes are often portayed as racist and when swedish journalists write about ramadan they don’t question anything, but romanticize it.
Mohamed Omar have commented on this and how media focus on a young basketplayer whi will fast. It will be challenging for her, but she will master the situation. Even though she talks about friends that faints, have headaches and that it’s hard to concentrate. Omar also mentions how it’s impossible for her to do anything else. The social pressure is overwhelming and to not fast is impossible, especially since those who doesn’t fast are finners that will burn in hell. Media should see this and help those who suffer and the most important thing is that we can discuss ramadan in the same way we discuss other things.