Muscat: Non-Muslims are encouraged to be respectful, and refrain from consuming food and drink in public during Ramadan, as legal experts have called for courteous behaviour from non-Muslims, with regards to fasting hours during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Also, authorities have stated that a “legitimate excuse” for a Muslim to break their fast includes illness, travelling and others.
However, if a Muslim does not have a legitimate reason to break his fast, and does so in a public space, then they may be subject to a fine of OMR1 to 5, or imprisonment.
“The law applies to Muslims, and the rule details that as long as the person is registered and known as a Muslim, they cannot act in a way that breaks their fast. This includes consuming water or drink, or smoking, or anything else that religiously can break your fast,” Faisal Al Rashdi, a lawyer, explained.
“The incident must be committed in a public space, where any person can see them doing this, without legitimate reason. If all of these conditions are met, then the person would be committing a crime under the Penal Code, Article 312,” Al Rashdi added.
Al Rashdi confirmed that this law does not apply to non-Muslims, saying, “Non-Muslims are not punished under this rule, because being Muslim is one of the conditions for committing this crime. In spite of this fact, they must observe the feelings of Muslims and not eat or drink in public.”
Another lawyer, Mohammed Al Tayib, called for courteous behaviour from non-Muslims, even though punishments do not apply to them.
“There is no legal punishment or offence. Rather, for non-Muslims, it is a social and moral offence. Non-Muslims should respect the fact that this is a Muslim country engaging in the fast, and attempt to avoid such behaviour in public without legitimate reason,” he said.