Muslim Tims(Web Desk) – A German legislator from the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has called for Muslim workers to take time off work during the fasting month of Ramadan.
Martin Sichert has said institutions that could not offer their fasting Muslim employees a night or early shift should then be able to compel them to use some of their annual leave during the Islamic holy month.
“What patient should have to be operated by a surgeon who has not drunk anything for 12 hours?” asked Sichert, who sits in the parliamentary committee for labor and social issues.
“Why should people have to be transported around by other people who might face concentration problems and dehydration because they have been fasting for hours?” he further asserted.
Germany is home to nearly four million Muslims – including Turks who have lived in the country for decades as well as refugees and asylum seekers who arrived in the past few years, many of whom have escaped wars in Syria and Iraq.
The AfD, which is now the third-largest political party in Germany after its stunning success in last September’s elections, has tried to ban the construction of mosques in Germany.
The right-wing group has called on the country’s border police to shoot refugees and migrants if necessary to stop them from entering the country, and run ads reminiscent of World War II-era Nazi propaganda warning of the threat posed by Muslims coming into Germany.
However, in a dramatic turn of events, leading member of Germany’s AfD party Arthur Wagner resigned from his post after deciding to convert to Islam earlier this year.
A study on Islamophobia in 27 European countries last year offered evidence of how the phenomenon is thriving, inspiring acts of anti-Muslim violence.
Last week, Denmark’s Integration Minister Inger Stojbert provoked outrage by calling on Muslims to go on vacation during Ramadan to avoid a “negative impact” on the society.
“It can simply be dangerous for all of us if the bus driver doesn’t eat or drink during a whole day, and you don’t perform at nearly the same level at the factory or the hospital if you don’t eat or drink during the bright hours of the day for a full month,” she proclaimed in a letter published by Danish newspaper BT.
The Danish minister was widely rebuffed after her remarks and Danish companies were among the first to say they had no problem with Ramadan.
3F transport union said it wondered if Stojbert was trying to create a problem that did not yet exist.
The chairwoman of Finland’s Muslim Union, Pia Jardi, called Stojberg’s comment about fasting Muslims “a completely absurd idea.”
There’s no information or statistics to show that bus drivers or other Muslim workers would somehow behave dangerously while fasting,” she said.
During the month of Ramadan, millions of Muslims around the world fast everyday from dawn to dusk. The practice of fasting, which reminds Muslims of those less fortunate, is also meant to increase spiritual discipline.