x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

European Muslims can break fasting during Ramadan

In Germany, a Muslim group and authorities have determined that professional Muslim footballers may break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

BERLIN // While games in the opening weeks of the Pro League will kick off at 10pm or later to account for Ramadan, matches in most European Leagues pose a bigger problem for Muslim footballers as they usually take place before dusk. In Germany, a Muslim group and authorities have determined that professional Muslim footballers may break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan. The announcement followed a dispute involving FSV Frankfurt, the German second division club that last year gave a formal warning to three of their players for fasting. The club had a clause in contracts stating that was not allowed without express permission. Germany's Central Council of Muslims said it sought advice from Al-Azhar in Egypt, the pre-eminent theological institute of Sunni Islam, and elsewhere.

Al-Azhar ruled that if a footballer is obliged to perform under a contract that is his only source of income, if he has to play matches during Ramadan, and if fasting affects his performance, then he can break his fast, the council said. "The Muslim professional can make good the fasting days in times when there are no matches, and so continue to pay God and the holy month of Ramadan honour and respect," Aiman Mazyek, the general secretary of the Central Council of Muslims, said in a statement.

* AP