Four primary schools in the UK have implemented a prohibition for fasting directed at students during the Islamic month of Ramadan, the British media reported.
Barclay Primary School in east London, a school that operates under an academic umbrella called the Lion Academy Trust, mailed out a letter last week to the students’ parents or guardians informing them of the fasting prohibition school policy.
The letter written by the school’s principal, Aaron Wright, notified the reasoning behind the prohibition by referring to Islamic code and law, saying that children were not required to fast under Islamic law and only obliged to do so "when they become adults."
"Previously, we have had a number of children who became ill and children who fainted or who have been unable to fully access the school curriculum in their attempt to fast," the principal added.
The letter also detailed the problem of long hours of fasting days and its impact on the children’s curriculum, saying 18 hours of fasting is a long time for a child without eating or drinking for sustenance and wellbeing.
The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) condemned the school’s fasting prohibition policy.
"We believe that there are sufficient and stringent rules within Islam which allow those who are unable to fast, to break fast," British paper the Daily Mail Online quoted a spokesman of the association as saying.
The MAB further emphasised the school’s interference into the children’s private life, and suggested that the parents or the guardians of the children should have the priority of decision making concerning such affairs.
The other schools that will follow suit in implementing a fasting prohibition are Sybourn, Thomas Gamuel and Brook House Primary Schools.
The approximate Muslim population of the UK is 3 million.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, commemorating the first revelation of the Quran to the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and begins on Wednesday.