Jim Hoft posted this at Gateway Pundit yesterday:
It’s an Obama World... US Troops Put on Drinking, Eating Restrictions for Ramadan
He quotes a Weekly Standard post:
A top commander in southwest Asia reminded U.S military personnel stationed in Muslim countries in the Middle East of the restrictions placed on them during Ramadan....
During the 30-day religious celebration of Ramadan, even non-Muslims are expected to obey local laws regarding eating, drinking, and using tobacco in public. Violators can be fined up to $685 or receive two months in jail. A spokesperson for United States Central Command [CENTCOM] said that "we are not aware of any specific instances of anyone being arrested" for such violations.
Yes, but as the CENTCOM statement notes, this affects only those who go outside areas controlled by the U.S., with reasonable exceptions:
One part of Ramadan is that those observing the holiday fast from dawn until sunset.
When outside U.S. controlled areas, eating and drinking in public during daylight hours is against the law. Failure to obey could result in fines up to $685 or a sentence of up to two months in jail....
The only personnel exempt from this requirement are those performing strenuous labor outside U.S. controlled areas. They are authorized to drink and consume as much food as they need to maintain proper hydration and energy.
And despite Hoft's assertion that this is an Obama policy, similar warnings were issued to U.S. personnel long before Obama was president. This is from a booklet issued by the U.S. Army's Area Support Group-Kuwait in 2002:
Do be aware of restrictions during Ramadan. During the month of Ramadan, which is approximately one month of nationwide fasting once a year, certain forms of public behavior are expected to be followed whether or not you are a Muslim. No eating, drinking, chewing gum, or smoking is allowed by law in public during daylight hours. If you are not fasting as a Muslim, you must be sure you do these things in the privacy of your own home. Exceptions are made only for young children.
A 2003 Defense Department news release titled "Experiencing Ramadan in Afghanistan" said in part:
During the month of Ramadan, officials said, troops here should remain aware of the rules of the holy time, and courtesy may require some changes from everyday activities.
Troops should not offer food or drink to practicing Muslims during the daylight hours of Ramadan, and should refrain from eating or drinking in front of Muslims so as to not distract them from their religious practices....
Muslim coalition troops and Muslims working on base may have an intense and rigorous prayer ritual during this time, and exceptions to everyday schedules should be allowed to give Muslim followers a chance to partake in the calls to prayer....
And here's a 2007 news release from Area Support Group Qatar in which U.S. servicemembers talk happily about their Ramadan experience:
To create a cultural opportunity, the ASG-QA Public Affairs Office sponsored service members to depart the installation and attend a five-star Islamic celebration at the Four Seasons Hotel Doha.
While on pass in Qatar, gaining off-post sponsorship during Ramadan can be unrewarding. Much of the nation is desolate throughout daylight hours. With few exceptions, all adult Muslims must abstain from drinking, eating, smoking or anything leading to impure thoughts which draw attention away from worshiping God. More time is spent praying in congregation at the Mosques. All expatriates – Muslim or otherwise – must abide by the local religious environment and never engage in any activity which might tempt a Muslim into breaking religious duties....
"We lucked out," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Philip Henderson, from Jacksonville, Fla. "What we hear about Ramadan is what you can not do – this was a unique opportunity. We had off-post sponsors with experience in Islamic customs. Being able to understand the culture and see how generous the people are is something to appreciate. We had a VIP tour at the hotel that explained everything!" Souheil Kebdani, Bar and Lounge Manager, escorted the group through the hotel, providing explanations of the event's traditional customs and religious significance....
So, Jim, the U.S. military didn't just suddenly become culturally sensitive to Ramadan after the Evil Kenyan was inaugurated. Too bad your readers will never learn that.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog.