London school trust bans Muslim students from fasting in Ramazan

Published June 12, 2015
Students at Barclay Primary School. ─ Photo source: BPS website
Students at Barclay Primary School. ─ Photo source: BPS website

LONDON: A primary school trust in east London banned Muslim pupils from fasting on school grounds during Ramazan, reported The Telegraph.

The Barclay Primary School, which serves London's Leyton area, told parents in a June 10 letter:

"We have sought guidance and are reliably informed that in Islamic Law, children are not required to fast during Ramadan," adding that previously, children at the school had fallen ill, fainted, or been "unable to fully access the school curriculum in their attempts to fast."

The school said it believed the health of children could suffer if they were deprived of sustenance and water.

The Muslim Association of Britain criticised the school for its decision, saying it was not the school's place to interfere, and that the rules in place to protect those vulnerable from fasting were "sufficient".

"We believe that there are sufficient and stringent rules within Islam which allow those who are unable to fast, to break fast," a spokesman told Mail Online.

"These rules include those who are medically ill or compromised; or too young or too old to fast.

"However, we believe that this determination should be decided by parents with their children; who can together reach a collective decision whether or not the child can fast.

"MAB ascertains that the final choice of whether or not to fast should be the right of the parents, who should in turn encourage their children to fast without forcing them to do so."

MAB President Dr Omer El-Hamdoon said parents should have a say in whether or not their child fasts.

"Schools should play a supporting role to parents; and issues like this should be discussed, not blanket enforced," he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of the school trust, Justin James, while responding to criticism said that the school was attempting to balance its obligations under child safety while continuing to work with the communities the school served.

In a statement published online, however, James says that parents who want their children to fast should contact the school to make specific arrangements.

"No child will be considered to be able to fast in school unless you have met with the Head of School," the statement said.

"We have proudly worked and supported all of our communities across one of the most diverse and dynamic parts of London.

"The team and I appreciate how important this time is to all our Muslim families and we welcome working closely with you to get the best possible outcome for everyone – children, parents and the wider school community."

Three other schools ─ Sybourn Primary School, Thomas Gamuel Primary School and Brook House Primary School ─ which belong to the Lion Acadamy Trust will also be implementing the ban, alongside Barclay Primary School.

Opinion

Editorial

Noshki killings
Updated 14 Apr, 2024

Noshki killings

It must be asked why Baloch separatists continue to target civilians as well as security men despite large deployment.
Upholding the law
14 Apr, 2024

Upholding the law

THE recent discord in Bahawalnagar offers a chance to reflect on the sanctity of the law and its enforcement across...
Tragic travels
14 Apr, 2024

Tragic travels

FOR those embarking on road and boat journeys, the probability of fatal accidents has seen a steady rise. The recent...
Security lapses
Updated 13 Apr, 2024

Security lapses

Ensuring the safety of foreign citizens is paramount, not just for diplomatic relations but for our economic future.
An eventful season
13 Apr, 2024

An eventful season

THE Senate chairman and deputy chairman were elected unopposed, and 41 new senators were sworn in on Tuesday,...
Living rough
13 Apr, 2024

Living rough

WE either don’t see them or don’t want to see them — not even when they are actively trying to get our...