CAIRO: Head of Agouza district denied reports that police raids on cafes aimed to crackdown on people who do not abide by fasting in Ramadan, Youm7 reported Friday.
“The district is carrying out such crackdowns on cafes operating without licenses, throughout the year,” Ahmed Abdel Raheem told Youm7, adding that such violations exists more during the holy month.
A Thursday video by Al-Watan news website showed police personnel raiding cafés in Agouza, seizing chairs and evacuating people who were seen smoking shisha.
The website reported that the campaign seized 177 chairs, 50 tables and 25 shishas in Kitkat square, north of Giza.
In his statements, Abdel Raheem added that non-Muslims are respected and that “neither the district, nor any person has the right to judge citizens sitting in cafés during fasting hours”
In 2009, police raids in Aswan, south of Egypt, arrested 150 people and filed a report against them for eating in public in Ramadan, according to Al-Arabia website.
Last year, 25 people were arrested over similar charges, and were later released per a prosecution order for the absence of a legal basis to criminalize such act, reported Al-Shorouq website in June 2015.
Egyptian Dar el-Iftaa, a body responsible for issuing Islamic laws also called “Fatwas,” said in a June 5 post on its official Facebook page the act of eating and drinking during the day in Ramadan “does not fall within the personal freedom, but is a kind of chaos and assault on the sanctity of Islam.”
The post considered the act as “openly committing a sin, and is forbidden… and a flagrant violation to the society’s sanctity and its right for sanctities to be respected.”
The statement attracted negative comments suggesting the post does not respect non Muslim who are not obliged to the fasting ritual of Ramadan, while some comments defended the institution as addressing only the Muslims.
Fasting Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is one of the main pillars of Islam, where Muslims practice fasting from dawn to sunset. Fasting is obligatory for adult Muslims, except in certain cases where people are exempted including: sickness, traveling, elderly, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menstrual bleeding.