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Canteen Closed During Ramadan, Non-Muslim Parents Think Their Children Are Forced To Fast

Canteen Closed During Ramadan, Non-Muslim Parents Think Their Children Are Forced To Fast

The school management claimed that parents had been consulted on the canteen closure.

Fernando Fong

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Most schools have a policy of closing the canteen during the month of Ramadan to ensure that young children can learn fasting.

Those who are not Muslims or under the age of eight are allowed to bring supplies and eat in other places.

However, a notification on the matter had recently caused an uproar and triggered allegation that it was racist.

The notification was disseminated by a primary school in Kuala Lumpur – SK Desa Pandan – to parents through a WhatsApp group.

A snapshot of the message sent by the school to parents. (Source: Facebook)

Dissatisfied, the parents took to the social media to air their grievances.

The parents said their rights should be respected and every person has the right to profess and to practice his or her religion.

However, not all are in agreement with the parents.

A netizen giving his point of view on the matter. (Source: Facebook)

School Acted With Consent From Parents

Following the uproar, the school had stepped forward to clarify.

According to The Star, parents were consulted on the canteen closure.

It said that the parents of all 11 non-Muslim students were agreeable to the closure.

The school said the parents could also bring food from home for their children.

We contacted the parents to ask if they were okay with us closing the canteen and if they are able to provide food from home for their children. None of them had an issue and agreed to the closure.

SK Desa Pandan explains on its canteen closure.

The school added that non-Muslim students are allowed to eat in a separate room during recess.

It also clarified that students can bring their water bottles.

However, the school wants them to respect the sensitivities of Muslim students especially those fasting for the first time, such as those in Year One and Two.

Should Eateries Close Or Open During Ramadan?

Meanwhile, interfaith advocate and chief executive of the Allied Coordinating Committee of Islamic NGOs (ACCIN) Jamal Shamsudin said if the shops are open, non-muslims who don’t fast should be allowed to dine in.

ACCIN CEO Jamal Shamsudin. (Source: ACCIN)

He told The Rakyat Post that there should be less restrictions especially in this endemic phase.

But the choice is with the operator of the shop, said Jamal who is also a human rights activist.

Meanwhile, Islamic Information and Services Foundation (IIS) secretary general Zuhri Yuhyi said the key is understanding and communicating each other’s needs.

He added that Muslims would not want to burden others when practising their faith.

Mutual understanding, genuine acceptance of others and respecting differences are important.

IIS secretary general Zuhri Yuhyi on Malaysians living in harmony and peace.

Zuhri also noted that Islam advocates communal harmony which is the feeling of amity and love for people of all communities. 

IIS secretary general Zuhri Yuhyi. (Source: Malaysia4Uyghur)

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