Ramadan Etiquette When Traveling to Muslim Countries
TRAVELLING TO MUSLIM COUNTRIES DURING JUNE TO JULY AND DON’T WISH TO BE DEEM IMPOLITE?
Here are some tips.
Ramadan 2015 began in the evening of Wednesday, June 17 and will end in the evening of Friday, July 17
Do abstain from drinking, eating or smoking in public during fasting hours in most Muslim countries. This also applies to travel on transportation such as cars etc. This is a form of courtesy in countries like Egypt, but in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Oman and Jordan, public observance of the fast is compulsory regardless of religion. Restaurants and cafes close during daylight hours, but most hotels offer room service and screened eating areas to non-Muslim visitors.
Dress modestly and refrain from wearing revealing clothing out of respect to those observing Ramadan. This is particularly important when visiting malls, hotels and restaurants or Iftar tents in the evening. As a general rule, clothing that is sheer, too short, low-cut or tight-fitting should be avoided, particularly shorts, miniskirts and sleeveless tops.
If you’re in a Muslim country for business, respect the shorter hours and work around them. It is best to schedule the meetings in the morning where those fasting are less tired and can concentrate better. It is best to ensure that the meetings are not held over lunch, over-run or inconvenience those who are fasting. While non-Muslims are free to eat and drink behind closed doors, they should avoid doing so in front of fasters and should instead excuse themselves to a more remote area of the office. If offered refreshments by a fasting Muslim, it was be respectful to decline.
Avoid unnecessary travel within an hour of sunset, as traffic will be heavy and accident rates peak, and avoid making dinner reservations around that time, as most restaurants will be busy preparing/serving Iftar. In many places, live music entertainment is prohibited, dance clubs are closed, and bars are kept dry. Shopping malls are usually very crowded in the evening, and many tourist activities are put on hold throughout Ramadan. Avoid public displays of affection, listening to loud music and chewing gum in public. Do not order alcohol or pork around Iftar at a restaurant.