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.

    Algerians protest against mandatory fasting
    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.

    SOURCE: AP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.