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Swedish summer poses Muslim fasting test

TT/The Local/pvs · 1 Aug 2011, 14:00

Published: 01 Aug 2011 14:00 GMT+02:00

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The Local reported last August about the particular problems facing Muslims resident in Sweden when Ramadan falls during the long days of summer.

With the fast beginning on Monday, 11 days earlier than last year in accordance with the lunar cycle, the lack of clear regulations stipulating the hours to be observed continues to cause problems for the devout.

During the fast Muslims are required to neither eat nor drink during daylight hours.

In Umeå in northern Sweden for example, dawn broke at 3.47am on Monday and the sun will set at 9.41pm, requiring an almost 18 hour fast, in comparison to 13 hours in Mecca.

According to Omar Mustafa, president of the Islamic League in Sweden, there is still no agreement on how Muslims in northern Europe should observe the fast.

"Several imams and organizations have different opinions. It is up to each individual to decide. But it is not meant that you should fast around the clock. Islam provides many options," Omar Mustafa told the TT news agency.

Around 30 years ago Ramadan coincided with the Swedish pagan festival of Midsummer, when the sun is at its highest point across the continent. But thirty years ago there were fewer Muslims in Sweden and in Europe as a whole.

Ramadan follows the lunar calender and so by 2015 the fast will once again fall over Midsummer. This is an issue which is under discussion at the European Council for Fatwa and Research, which brings together European imams, Mustafa said.

"This issue has been discussed for a long time. This year we are to follow the sun, but the discussion is ongoing in Europe on how to jointly reach a solution," he said.

The regulations governing Ramadan however allows for exemptions from fasting for those likely to experience health problems, such as children, the elderly and pregnant women.

According to the Islamic Center in Malmö, there are around 350,000 Muslims living in Sweden and despite the challenges many are gearing up for what is considered the highlight of the festive year.

Story continues below…

Supermarket chain Coop notes a significant increase in sales during Ramadan, especially of certain goods.

"We usually find that we sell more fruit and vegetables, halal meat, dates and various dips, and we remind stores in advance, so they have the items in stock," Louise Stephan, press officer at Coop, told TT.

Ramadan will continue for 30 days in 2011, ending with feast of Eid al-fitr on August 30th.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:10 August 1, 2011 by Great Scott
They dont have to live in Sweden if it's a problem for them.
15:17 August 1, 2011 by justanotheruser
well said ""Great Scott" and you better off to Norway and do what your fundamentalist did,

grow up ...little kid
15:41 August 1, 2011 by gh2008

hard to tell these days "DUDE"! hard to tell!!!
15:42 August 1, 2011 by justanotheruser
@ Dude79:,yap, world have many real problem to solve, and people r still stuck will self proclaimed issus, its just like which came first CHIICKEN OR EGG, we need to look on some real problems say hungar, it won't be long it came next to our doors.

ya, i need to chill out a bit :)
15:44 August 1, 2011 by Larry Thrash
Dang, looks like Mother Nature is committing a "hate crime". When will the bigotry end.
15:47 August 1, 2011 by TomasBrolin
My heart bleeds.
16:01 August 1, 2011 by Observour
350,000 muslims in Sweden? what will the figure be if muslim women and children are counted?

Is 'thighing' allowed during this fasting period?
16:19 August 1, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
@Great Scott, you should pay attention @justanotherruser. He is completely right. Just grow up and do not pay attention to nincompos such as "just another amuser".who really believes he is a shrews and cunning. It is always the same thing with him at The Local. He keeps on trying to outsmart really witty and smart commentators and he does not come with something really outstanding with enough merit to be discussed. So, Great Scott, let him try to grow up by using his childish games.

@dude79, thanks for putting this ruser in his place.

@ chilitheruser. Precisely that is what you should eat, lots and lots of chili to keep your mouth closed.
16:30 August 1, 2011 by Iraniboy
Oh yes another food for our hate monegers! Come come here is the food!
16:37 August 1, 2011 by J. L. Belmar

No thank you. I like good and healthy food. Hope you do not mind. Do you dude79 or you Great Scott?
16:45 August 1, 2011 by Iraniboy
@Belmar, dude and great scott

The vegtables and salads are very healthy. The rest seems to be meat-free. I personally think that we need to cut meat in our diet and eat more vegtables maybe it helps us to avoid our blood thirsty, hate loving approach and comments to other people!!! Avoiding this hatred will help us not become Andres B.!
16:49 August 1, 2011 by J. L. Belmar

I strongly recomment you to cut meat in your diet. You will be fat as a fat pig plus you will develop deabetes in a jiffy. Good luck, but please, do not recommend anything about diets if you do not know the subject. If someone follows you, he will look for you to break your nose. X my heart.
16:51 August 1, 2011 by Great Scott

It seems that the immaturity is on your side. As said by Dude79 "not everyone is a mass murderer, nazi or terrorist." It is purely a statement such as "If you don't like the heat get out of the kitchen".

When you live in another country do not expect things to be done your way. I am able to deal with that, but it seems that by your little rant things are different for you and that you have a problem. You must also know that before you post again you must ask your mother to check your grammar.

@J. L. Belmar

It is obvious that you and others were able to read and understand my first comment, you know it really does help to look before you cross the road.
17:00 August 1, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
@Great Scott

I always do that. That's the reason I have survived until now. Just let me tell you a Mexican joke:

The wife: "You s.o.b. I know the maid will have a baby.

The husband: "Well, that is her problem"

The wife: "But I know that the baby belongs to you"

The husband: "Well, that is my problem."

The wife: "I will dismiss her right now"

The husband: "Well, THAT IS YOUR PROBLEM".
17:12 August 1, 2011 by Svensksmith
Call it a slow fast.
17:14 August 1, 2011 by occassional
Hmm, just spotted Fatwa and Research in the same sentence. Must eat.
17:50 August 1, 2011 by Streja
I think it's strange that God did not know this when he told Muslims to fast. If he created the earth I mean.

Otherwise, I'm with Iraniboy on this. Stop the hatred.
17:53 August 1, 2011 by sendia
well my logic says that these rituals were developed with a limited knowledge in the time when they didnt know the real size of the world.

Their world only consisted of a small region where this rule worked,, if it was god given or whatever then it should fit everywhere without trouble.
18:29 August 1, 2011 by johnny1939
Draw the curtains!
18:29 August 1, 2011 by muntazir
I think its just TL's opinion that fasting is a real test here in Sweden. If anyone has had the opportunity to know Muslims, they would know that Muslims eat more than enough at the sunset and before sunrise to easily survive 17-18 hours of fasting. And just in case you didn't know, these 17-18 hours of fasting are a piece of cake compared to 13 hours of fasting in Mecca. Its because it is so damn hot over there in Mecca. Surviving starvation is easy but coping with thirst is very very hard.

And yes, lets all stop the hatred. It always leads to bloodshed and violence, and we all don't want that.
19:16 August 1, 2011 by sendia
@ Muntazir

Yes I know they eat a lot in the evening and again at dawn and its easy to fast the whole day with that amount of food in your tummy. I have seen these fast breaking dinners and I know what you are talking about.

so what is the point of fasting now? is not the whole logic lost if they eat way too much in evenings.

so ppl are intrepreting things rigidly and say the rule is we should fast in day and dont understand the logic .
19:20 August 1, 2011 by hisham
The rising of the hatred cased the bloodshed and terror attack of Norway. Muslims are happy to live with Christian in this lovely community in this lovely land.
19:20 August 1, 2011 by Great Scott



Where on earth is there any hatred in the above comments? All that is being said is if you don't like it, go somewhere it suits you. What do you think someone would say to you if you lived in Kenya e.g. and that all you did was complain about the heat!

Just remember when in Rome, if we all stuck to that what a wonderful world it would be.
19:44 August 1, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
@Great Scott, it looks like you are throwing pearls to the swines. It is useless to even try to reason with a wall. There is no resonance at all. . As @johnny1939 wrote, "DRAW THE CURTAINS" and erase them from your comments forever and ever. It is no worth the effort.
19:47 August 1, 2011 by Streja
GreatScott, I have never heard any Swedish Muslim complain about daylight or fasting. The only thing I can read from the article is that they are asking how to fast.

So, your analogy is wrong.
20:22 August 1, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
No, they are not asking how to fast. They are wondering at what time the Sun rises and at what time the Sun goes doen. In other words, the Sun shines East, the Sun shines West, but they do not know where the Sun shines best. Sweden, Sweden, my dear old Sweden.
20:39 August 1, 2011 by Smallnose
Good news, this means more köttbullar and kjøttkaker left for me.
20:51 August 1, 2011 by Streja
J. L. Belmar, which determines how they have to fast...

Smallnose, hehe. :)

Hisham, indeed. Peace!
21:27 August 1, 2011 by eurobloke
Ramadan means not just fasting, but also it is a month of forgiveness and empathy for you fellow man. So peace to you all.
22:44 August 1, 2011 by PaulTheOctopus
tommorow i'll buy a big mac and go to eat in rinkeby centrum
22:51 August 1, 2011 by Ivan Juric
@Great Scott, I agree with you....where I live (Melbourne Australia) I can't attend my local public swimming pool anymore on certain days as it is closed to men due to the insistence of muslim women.
23:27 August 1, 2011 by Learner2011
ohhh stop talking: eat, pray and love !
23:27 August 1, 2011 by wxman
For those of you brain dead leftists, have you any idea what life is like for a European living in Saudi Arabia? If not, STFU.
23:32 August 1, 2011 by lordsandwich
What an idiotic ritual! Indeed, there are big issues with pregnant women fasting which causes huge damage to the foetus. That's the problem with religious dogma, it just doesn't make sense. If it ever did, it doesn't anymore and it's never updated. These people are just fools.
23:49 August 1, 2011 by Rishonim
There are so many angry lizards out there. Ramadan Kareem to all
00:21 August 2, 2011 by Learner2011
@lordsandwich #35

It amazes me seeing people like you have such a striking intelligence. Consider reading before you post anything here. FYI...All the following are exempted from fasting Ramadan: Pregnant women, elderly people, sick people, travellers and anyone else who cannot bear the fasting.

@Rishonim #36

Well said ! "Ramadan Kareem to all". Thanks !
01:57 August 2, 2011 by cutthecrap
The Jewish community in Sweden fast too, I think we should include them in this question of fasting difficulties, in the interests of inclusivity and diversity.
03:43 August 2, 2011 by darkrealm
Oh the joys of Religion,

I say if you like food, indulge

change Ramadan to start during the winter, all the Muslims could move north and eat all day.
05:51 August 2, 2011 by cutthecrap
The Jewish community never seem to have any problems with their fasting, but they are of course a very adaptive people, and they always fit in with out any problems to the community with regards their religion and customs etc.
06:03 August 2, 2011 by ericrufinosiah
Well,fasting from sun rise to sun set shouldn't be a problem to pious and the

truthful observing Muslims,though generally,someone miscalculate the settings

of the Fasting seasons for the Muslims.Anyway,rules can be bended if it suit you and company.
06:31 August 2, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
Well, at least one month a year they do not need to worry about banting. They might loose the necessary weight to keep them going for 11 more months.
06:36 August 2, 2011 by arslan11

God knew that weather in Scandinavia would be cold. In Makkah, 13 hours fasting (at 45C) is lot more difficult than 18 hours fasting at max 25-30C.. If your limited mind has still any doubt then consult any diet specialist on this issue..

The logic is to abstain and become more disciplined (although most of the Muslims don't follow this spirit of fasting)
06:46 August 2, 2011 by Learner2011
@Great Scott #24

They all wrong , there's no any hatred in the above comments. But there's a lot of disrespect in them and this is something absolutely disgraceful and not cool.

Anyhow, It all comes down and depends on the environment and the manners that a person has been taught and learnt from life. Therefore, People shouldn't blame others whom they don't know much about their roots.

BTW, Giving an example about the heat in Kenya shows your level of a very basic geography literacy - So keep on mentioning this example in all your posts to entertain the readers :)
08:06 August 2, 2011 by arnuxii
Not eating during the day is not too bad but not drinking is more challenging.

I worked in Muslim countries for 10 years and they would get really tired, they were not very productive and would go home at 3pm.

Also eating or drinking in front of them was not allowed and restaurants have put to up curtains.

I am sure they will enforce that this rule in Europe in years to come. Enjoy!
08:25 August 2, 2011 by Stickeroo
So...now the rag heads will end up in the hospital due to dehydration...maybe the muslim count will drop next year along with a sharp rise in mortality!
09:05 August 2, 2011 by Great Scott
@ Learner2011

Whether the comments are right or wrong in your eyes, Sweden is a country like many others in Europe that allows free speech. For you, for me and for others we have this privilege, providing what we say is not illegal or not in sighting any form of hatred. What I mean by that is don't preach to others and spread sick beliefs in an attempt to gain control.

Regarding Kenya, if you noticed it stated e.g. giving a hypothetical situation. If you ask most people, if they think Kenya is a hot country most normal people would say yes. Now let's see what you can read in that, as I feel you are providing much more entertainment to the readers than I am.

BTW I do feel that being able to reside in a county such as Sweden, being allowed freedom and respect, is more important than a persons roots. It is maybe a problem with a persons roots that is preventing their integration into a country.
09:17 August 2, 2011 by Learner2011
@Great Scott #47

You are proving my point. If you are a normal person and were able to read my comment #44 you will notice that I literally stated "this is something absolutely disgraceful and not cool.". But apparently you need thick glasses.

No one mentioned anything about "illegal" nor "free speech". Just chill out and don't get confused more than you look.

BTW, We are talking about the good manners and respect.
09:46 August 2, 2011 by Da Goat
This problem is easy to fix .... just send them back south until the day length is convenient so they don't go hungry


send them further north where they can go 40 days without any night !
10:42 August 2, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ nearly everyone

Oh for the love of god! Fy fan! o Allah! For the sake of Mohammed!

Do you really have to even agrue about this? How pathetic! You do not see the Swedes of muslim descent whining anf grumbling when you are deciding whether to have sill or falukorv at your "Fests" or when 90% of Sweden have strawberries and cream and potatoes and are partying up a storm at mid Sommar, or singing Helan Gå at full blast, drinking "Skåne Schapps" and sucking the brains(butter) out of kräftor at Kräftkiva time.

They are not complaining about Sweden you pompus dough heads. They are just trying to synchronize their "fest" just like anyone would.

I keep hearing about the muslim people being a huge problem and I do agree, when you come to a new society you need to adjust into it instead of trying to make it adjust into you, but if this forum in any indication, for the most part it is not the muslim posters, but the Swedish posters who are scary and inflamitory. IT IS JUST A FEST PEOPLE, and it isn't your party so if you weren't invited it isn't your concern. Jeez! Get a hobby.
10:48 August 2, 2011 by Great Scott

It seems to me that you have a problem reading what you write and what others write. You wrote about disrespect that others were showing. Just to remind you "But there's a lot of disrespect in them".

The respect that I am referring to and it is quite clear, is what you have from the country, e.g. permissions to enjoy life and be free.

So you have put your foot in it one more time, I wonder what your next silly abusive comment will be.
10:48 August 2, 2011 by motti
Jews in Scandinavia have feasts and fasts. In Norway, one family lived in Narvik, with communities in Oslo and Trondhjem. One was still able to fast, that means no food or drink for 25 hours, just praying, reflections of one's life etc. The ancient Jewish lunar calender reflects the big fasting called Yom Kippur which is usually around September or October.. So their problem is not as great as the Moslems. Tough ain't it?
10:51 August 2, 2011 by J Jack
So big pre dawn breakfast followed by siesta some time in the afternoon/evening followed by post sunset gouging and then off to work at the falafel stand ... And all this for 30 days ... very super modified fasting like this should only be problematic for diabetics, teenagers, preggo's and babies. The regulations already cover them so what's the fuss? Follow the sun and be cool! If I was religiously challenged in this way, I would probably take the whole family on a 30 day semester to the Swiss Alps deep down in a valley surrounded by 2000 meter peaks where the sun only appears a few hours a day. :-/>
11:20 August 2, 2011 by sendia
@ Arslan 11

Yes it is to abstain, but you overindulge the moment you call the fast off for the day. so what is the point dear? Ok if you live in Tromso then how do you suggest the fast be carried out. Or even in northern sweden, the sun never sets there.

@ Learner 2011.

Not all travellers are exempted from eating, you need to travel some hundreds of kilometers in a day to get exempted, ok. I am not sure about the exact number but it is a few hundred kilometers or a large number.

When the rule was made probably they imagined you travel on a camel in baking sun and now what do you guys do, travel in a airconditioned boeing and feast like animals coz you travel a few hundred kilometers in a day.
11:38 August 2, 2011 by gh2008
@ sendia,

it is 41 kilometers no matter how you travel.
12:18 August 2, 2011 by Streja
Jacqueline, they are not Swedish these posters. Only jostein and I are Swedish on here these days.

You are right. They are not complaining or whining. But of course the right wing extremists on here try to analyse everything from their point of view, which is just a sad reflection of their lives.
12:47 August 2, 2011 by J. L. Belmar

So, according to you, those who do not praise the Muslims in Sweden who have tried and are trying for you Swedes to change your attitudes and believes, are just a bunch of right wing extremists?

You, once again, are really proving how nincompoop one can be. I cannot even advice you to grow up, because that would be an utopic wish.

Just keep on being an S.... I do not know if the S stands for Social democrat or for stupidity.

This whole discussion started with the following:

15:10 August 1, 2011 by Great Scott

They dont have to live in Sweden if it's a problem for them.

After it, you, and many others exactly or worse than you, have distorted what Great Scott said so that it fits your "I am the good

Swede Syndrome".

If someone is not happy with the canibals, he better moves before he is eaten, but you are not going to change his habits just because the "Canibal's land poses whatever".
13:05 August 2, 2011 by sendia

So are you saying that some one travelling on a donkey or by foot in a scorching 50 C endures the same as someone in a landcruiser?

Is this is not finding loopholes.

I believe they (pregnant, sick and traveller) are allowed to eat because of the physical hardship. That is why religion is for people who can analyse things with common sense especially the one which has so many rules.

Dont even get me started in polygamy.
13:09 August 2, 2011 by Streja
J. L. Belmar, I know exactly what GreatScott meant.
14:14 August 2, 2011 by J. L. Belmar

As usual, yaouw doe yav the faintest idae of what yoo miskin talken abart. I yaouw doe knoo who yaouw really am, 'oo in the hell cost soy that yaouw knoo what GreatScott meant? noo yoo miskin a mind reader too. cost even terk ter animals? arr of couss. what a noggen yedded questions I med.
15:44 August 2, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ J. L. Belmar

17:09 August 2, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
So Streja is jacquelinee. No wonder. Both are the same person. No wonder this dual personality does not dig anything.

What??? That!!!

In plain English,

Sa strejeur is jacquelinee. neya wonda. both are t' sem apeth. neya wonda dis dual personality does not dig owt. wha'??? 'a'!!!
19:00 August 2, 2011 by Great Scott

So tell me what did I mean, time for you to put your head on the block.

Please tell me and I will tell you if you are right, but wait if you know what I meant then what's the problem.
21:44 August 2, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ Streja

Funny J.L. Belmar thinks we are the same person especially with the heavy debate we were involved in 2 days ago. Maybe we are a lot alike after all. I, for one, take that as a compliment ;-)
22:41 August 2, 2011 by J. L. Belmar

Do not overdo it. There is a hell of a difference between you two.
19:31 August 3, 2011 by Great Scott
@ Streja

Where are you, I am waiting for you to answer my question.

I will give you 24 hours to answer, if you do not answer I am going find you on another topic, there is no escape.
20:41 August 3, 2011 by goth
@lordsandwich, pregnant women, like the elderly, sick and children are exempt from fasting.
22:34 August 3, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
@Great Scott

I have the hunch that @Streja is about to throw the towel. She will never cope with Heavyweights.
23:56 August 3, 2011 by Great Scott
@J. L. Belmar

You are right, but I bet if the boot was on the other foot she would not let it die.
00:46 August 4, 2011 by Gamla Hälsingebock
Don't gang up on Streja!

She is trying to atone for the crimes committed against the Islamic people by her ancestors.

Yes! High crimes against Islam!!!!

The poor peace loving Muslims were cruelly driven from their homes in lovely Iberia by The Catholic Spaniards in 1492....Ahhhh, history! LOL X3
08:34 August 4, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
Yes, poor guys. Now they are looking for a chance to continue the invasion of Europe via European Union, with the support of you know who from you know where. Let us learn how to fast real fast, or else we might die faster than we can imagine. Hamlet said: "To fast or not to fast. That is the dilemma".
10:20 August 4, 2011 by Great Scott
I know its early and I have not had my first coffee yet but was it not the Moors that invaded Spain.
14:32 August 5, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
@Great Scott

Yes, the Moors invaded Spain, but...

they were a nomadic people from North Africa; originally they were the inhabitants of Mauretania. They invaded Spain, taking their Islamic religion and culture with them, in 711, where they overran the Visigoths. They spread northward across the Pyrenees into France, but they were turned back by Charles Martel and his Frankish knights in 732.

They were thrown out from Spain by Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, the famous "Cid Campeador" the legendary hero of the reconquering of Spain

El Cid (1045-1099), also called El Cid Campeador, is the name commonly used for the important Castilian knight and hero, Rodrigo (or Ruy) Diaz de Vivar, who was born in Bivar (Vivar).

He battled the Moriscos (Spanish for Moors or Muslims)

As you can read Great Scott, the Moors or Muslims is the same. The word in Spanish is Moriscos.

Europe is already half engulfed by the Moriscos.
19:56 August 5, 2011 by Streja
Cid is an Arabic word.

The culture that they brought was lightyears ahead of the Europeans' culture back then.

The Muslims that were thrown out were mostly Iberians who had converted to Islam. Some practices their religion in secrecy still in the early 17thC, so that's whny they were expulsed.
11:43 August 6, 2011 by johnny1939
Oh boy, Oh boy it is interesting to read all the problems some people have w/ other people's religious fasting. Glad I am not religious one less problem in my life.
16:58 August 22, 2011 by local-aam
Even a 19 hours fasting in Sweden is much easier than 13 hours fasting in a country where the temperature is 35C+. So anti-muslims, you have no reason to be delighted with muslims' fasting in Sweden. :D
11:00 September 8, 2011 by Odinosaur
In my opinion, Christians should fast during Christmas, but no, you have to overindulge yourself in this commercialized bastardization of a holiday.
23:38 July 22, 2012 by Just_Kidding
what if a eskimo becomes muslim?
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