Two Christian men on trial in Algeria for eating during daylight in the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan were acquitted on Tuesday, a verdict their supporters said was a triumph for religious freedom.
The two men, members of Algeria’s small Protestant community, were charged with offending public morals for eating at the building site where they were working before the Ramadan fast had been broken for the day. (Photo: Food shoppers in Algiers on first day of Ramadan, August 11, 2010/Louafi Larbi)
After the judge in the small town of Ain El-Hammam, about 150 km (93.21 miles) east of the Algerian capital, ruled they were innocent, a group of about seven Protestants standing on the steps of the courthouse shouted “Hallelujah!”
This article on Slate.fr says Algeria is clamping down on Muslims who do not fast during Ramadan. A local newspaper, Le Quotidien d’Oran, has an op-ed piece (from a writer in Paris) calling for the freedom to fast or not. A group called Mali in neighbouring Morocco has a Facebook page in French where it argues that human rights include the right to eat during Ramadan in a Muslim country.
In another Ramadan case, two women in Indonesia’s Aceh province were caned for selling food during daylight hours in the month.