East London school bans children from fasting during Ramadan

Tuesday 16th June 2015 07:52 EDT

A primary school trust that has reportedly told its students that it will not allow Muslim children attending school to fast during Ramadan in order to ‘safeguard the health and education of the child’ is facing backlash from the community.

Ramadaan, the month long religious tradition due to start Thursday. Barclay Primary School in Leyton, east London, issued a letter to parents informing them that it would not allow children attending school to fast to avoid health risks for young children during the summer term. The ban will also be implemented across three other schools which belong to the Lion Academy Trust. They are Sybourn Primary School and Thomas Gamuel Primary School in Waltham Forest and Brook House Primary School in Haringey.

The letter dated 10 June stated: ‘We are reliably informed that in Islamic Law, children are not required to fast during Ramadan only being required to do so when they become adults.’

And described how children ‘fainted’ and ‘became ill’ during last year’s festival after going without food or water for ’18 hours, a significant amount of time for a child.’

However it added, “...if you are considering your child fasting during the school week, you will need to meet with your Head of School individually to discuss how we ensure the safety and well being of your child whilst still ensuring that they are part of the Ramadan celebration. No child will be considered to be able to fast in school unless you have met" with the Head of School.”

The Muslim Association of Britain has hit back at the move and claims the decision over whether the children should fast should be made by families not schools. Spokesman said: ‘We believe that there are sufficient and stringent rules within Islam which allow those who are unable to fast, to break fast.

‘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.’

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