Bahrain police set to enforce Ramadan rules
Manama, July 9, 2013
Police in Bahrain will be on high alert from tomorrow (July 10) to ensure people do not breach a ban on eating, drinking or smoking in public during the fasting hours of Ramadan, a report said.
Patrols will be stepped up across the country to catch violators, who could be jailed for up to a year or fined BD100 ($263), reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
"Security forces have the power to arrest Muslims and non-Muslims who are found eating in public during the fasting hours," said an Interior Ministry spokesman.
Smoking, eating and drinking in public is not allowed from sunrise to sunset.
The spokesman explained police have the power to arrest offenders, who will be fined and referred to the Public Prosecution.
"According to Article 309 in the Penal Code those disrespecting religions could be fined BD100 and jailed up to one year," he said. "Respecting Islamic regulations is a must during Ramadan."
The spokesman said community police would also visit restaurants and coffee shops to ensure there were no violations during the day.
"Eating or smoking in public is considered as disrespectful to Islam and Muslims," he said.
Coffee shops and restaurants will be notified by the authorities concerned to not serve customers during the fasting hours.
"They will not be permitted to receive customers during fasting hours, but they can open to prepare for iftar and suhoor meals," said the spokesman.
Separate teams from the General Directorate of Civil Defence will also tour Bahrain's five governorates to inspect Ramadan tents to ensure they do not violate safety norms. Inspectors from the Health and Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs Ministries have already started awareness campaigns to ensure tent owners meet safety specifications.
Tents are popular among families and companies who hold ghabga events.
They are traditionally pitched near people's homes as a meeting point for visitors during evenings.
Tents are famous for their food and sheesha, but children under 18 will only be allowed into non-smoking areas - and only then if they are accompanied by an adult.
"Our aim is to work with different teams to ensure health and safety rules are not violated and there are no fire-hazards," said Civil Defence administration affairs directorate head Brigadier Hamad Abdulla Hamad Al Maraj.
He added that tent owners should take permission from the Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs Ministry to pitch tents.
Traffic patrols to be stepped up
Traffic patrols will be increased across the country in anticipation of increasing numbers of vehicles on the roads during Ramadan.
Special arrangements have been made to ensure smooth flow of traffic, said General Directorate of Traffic deputy director-general Colonel Mohammed Rashid Al Nuaimi.
"The patrols cover all events, markets, shopping malls, places of worships and also on both sides of the King Fahad Causeway," said Colonel Al Nuaimi.
"This is also because Ramadan this year coincides with the summer holidays."
The official urged drivers to comply with traffic instructions and try to avoid peak hours by going to work earlier in the morning and not rushing home in the evenings. – TradeArabia News Service