This is a bit weird. I don’t mean in a “help help omigod US soldiers are being told to be polite to Moooslims” way, but in a “wait what about the health and safety of the soldiers themselves” way. US troops have been told to respect Ramadan.
Some 5 million people live in Baghdad but its busy sidewalk restaurants are now empty. No smoking, no drinking — not even water.
And yes, no sex. At least not during daylight hours.
“When I’m fasting and I see someone who is eating or smoking,” said a merchant on Karada Street, “I get very irritated.”
It’s clear that U.S. soldiers, including those with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, are getting the message.
“The eating in front of the locals or the drinking or the smoking of cigarettes or things like that have been prohibited,” said Sgt. Larry Green.
Just to make sure, all soldiers in the 82nd all received a pamphlet titled “Ramadan: A Guide for Soldiers.” It explains the religious significance of Ramadan — to honor Allah — and provides helpful tips. “After sundown when the fast is broken,” it reads, “do not be alarmed if you see large groups gathering to share a meal.”
I can see telling them not to stuff their faces in front of people who are fasting. But no drinking water? In Baghdad?
I hope what they’ve been told is more flexible than that.
But then I also wish Ramadan didn’t mandate no drinking. It’s a terrible, disgusting, inhuman prohibition, created at a time when knowledge of physiology wasn’t great.