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Primary school bans pupils from fasting

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A primary school trust has banned Muslim pupils from fasting during Ramadan, claiming the tradition can be harmful to the health of young children. Barclay Primary School in Leyton, east London, issued a letter to parents informing them that it would not allow children attending school to fast in order to ‘safeguard the health and education of the child’.

The move has been slammed by members of the Muslim community who said schools should seek to support parents instead of ‘blanket enforce’ their own rules when it comes to religion.

In the letter issued yesterday, the school claimed to have ‘sought guidance’ before implementing the ban.

‘We are reliably informed that in Islamic Law, children are not required to fast during Ramadan, only being required to do so when they become adults,’ it said.

It continued to describe how children ‘fainted’ and ‘became ill’ during last year’s festival after going without food or water for ’18 hours, a significant amount of time for a child.’

Alongside Barclay Primary School the ban will be implemented across three other schools which belong to the trust. They are Sybourn Primary School and Thomas Gamuel Primary School in Waltham Forest and Brook House Primary School in Haringey.

The letter, posted on 5pillars, a British Muslim publication, was today criticised by members of the Muslim community which said deciding whether a child should fast or not is the prerogative of their parent.  The Muslim Association of Britain said there were enough rules in place to protect the vulnerable from fasting without school’s interference.

‘We believe that there are sufficient and stringent rules within Islam which allow those who are unable to fast, to break fast,’ a spokesman told Mail Online.

‘These rules include those who are medically ill or compromised; or too young or too old to fast.

‘However, we believe that this determination should be decided by parents with their children; who can together reach a collective decision whether or not the child can fast.

‘MAB ascertains that the final choice of whether or not to fast should be the right of the parents, who should in turn encourage their children to fast without forcing them to do so.’

Dr Omer El-Hamdoon, the President of MAB added parents ought to have the ultimate say in whether their child participates in the fast.

‘Schools should play a supporting role to parents; and issues like this should be discussed, not blanket enforced,’ he said.
Neither Barclay Primary School nor the Lion Academy Trust responded to Mail Online’s requests for comment this afternoon. DAILY MAIL

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