[QODLink]
Africa

Algerians protest against mandatory fasting

Hundreds of people join public lunch during Ramadan to protest at alleged persecution of those who choose not to fast.

Last Modified: 04 Aug 2013 02:30
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
A cook serves soup in a Ramadan charity tent, outside Algiers [Reuters]

About 300 people in a restive northern region of Algeria have joined a public lunch during Ramadan to protest against what they say is persecution of people who refuse to observe the religious fast.

The lunch on Saturday was highly unusual for North Africa, where people can be arrested for not fasting during the Muslim holy month.

It was held as a demonstration against the decision of security forces to question three young people who were eating outside last week in the Kabylie region during the 18-hour daily fasting period.

"We called this gathering to denounce the inquisition and persecution of citizens who, because of their beliefs, refuse to observe the fast," said Bouaziz Ait Chebib, head of the local Kabylie Autonomy Movement.

The Berbers of the Kabylie are known for a more secular outlook in general than Algeria's majority Arabs, and have had a historically tense relationship with Algeria's government.

In previous years, Kabylie residents who refused to fast during the month of Ramadan faced charges of "acting against Islam".

The lunch in Tizi-Ouzou, about 100 kilometres from Algiers, was not contested by locals who were fasting, nor authorities.

198

Source:
AP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Ukrainians living in Russia are choosing to keep a low profile amid high tension between the countries.
Mother of jailed Al Jazeera journalist Abdullah Elshamy says her son's ordeal highlights the value of press freedom.
French Jews and Muslims say recent National Front victories in mayoral races reflect rising xenophobia.
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
Featured
Survivors of Bangladesh garment factory collapse say they received little compensation and face economic hardship.
As Iraq prepares to vote, deadly violence is surging. But at the site of one bomb attack, people insist life must go on.
French Jews and Muslims say recent National Front victories in mayoral races reflect rising xenophobia.
Up to 23,000 federal prisoners could qualify for clemency under new Justice Department initiative.
After years of rapid growth, Argentina is bracing for another economic crisis as inflation eats up purchasing power.
join our mailing list