As Muslims start observing the holy month of Ramadan on August 1, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East were advised to abide by the don’ts of host countries during the month.
While non-Muslims are not obliged to follow all the customs, the group Migrante Middle East said it will still be wise to respect their host countries’ Ramadan traditions.
“This is just to caution our fellow OFWs. Though, non-Muslims are not obliged to fast, for instance, we advice our fellow OFWs to observe the religious and cultural prohibitions by the host governments in regards to the observance of the Holy Month of Ramadan,” group coordinator John Monterona said in a blog post.
The other things to avoid included:
- lust, violence, greed, envy, angry or sarcastic retorts and gossiping
- making noise.
- obscene and irreligious sights and sounds
The group had monitored cases in past years where OFWs were caught by the religious and cultural police (Mutawa) for violating the host government’s prohibitions during Ramadan.
Such offenses are considered petty crimes and punishable by imprisonment of up to one year plus lashing.
“In 2009, as per Migrante-ME records, there were around 20 OFWs apprehended, while about 35 last year nabbed for violations on the prohibitions during Ramadan,” Monterona said.
In offices and job sites, Monterona noted that non-Muslim expatriate workers are not forced to fast “but prudence dictates that we should conduct ourselves in a manner that would not cause disrespect to our Muslim managers, supervisors, employers and to fellow Muslim co-workers during Ramadan.” – VVP, GMA News