I have a good friend who does what can only be described as ‘good things’ for a living. Sometimes unbearably and suffocatingly good it is true, but admirable and utterly unimpeachable (well come on, who likes someone who can reasonably say “I help people” when asked what they do for a living?)
Anyhow, this friend told me a tale about something that recently happened in the earthquake zone in Northern Pakistan. If I get the facts slightly wrong I hope I will be forgiven.
It appears that a rather secular Pakistani restauranter from Islamabad piled his kitchens into a truck and hot foot up to the disaster zone and set up his tent and started preparing food. The fires were burning and the broth was bubbling. At which point a local imam arrived and demanded publicly that he stop.
‘You cannot do that, it is Ramadan, you cannot feed people during the daylight hours’Our hero was staggered, here he was providing humanitarian aid to people who had nothing, indeed doing his religiuos duty, and this bloody mullah was demanding that he stop. It appears that he was being assisted by EU aid officials – maybe they gave him the tent, or were providing food I do not know. The point was that the threat carried by the fanatic is very real, so sadly the fellow stopped and waited until nightfall.
His decision was supported by the EU officials, as they could no go against the wishes of the mullah on security grounds.
The point is of course is that he was talking out of his extremist arse, the Koran allows people to eat in extremis, as Islam for today points out, "Muslims are permitted to break the ordained fast of Ramadan when there is danger to their health. In this situation a Muslim should make up his fast later at any other time of the year." “But if anyone is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period should be made up by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties” - Surah Al-Baqarah (2-183)
No Allah doesn’t want to put people to difficulties, it is just the wankers who claim to act in his name who do. Worse, nobody in authority was prepared to face down the fanatic, thus accepting increased suffering and strengthening his grip on a weakened population.