This year, the Olympics coincide with the fasting month of Ramadan. Many of the 3,000 Muslim athletes therefore have a permit from their imam to break their fast in their pocket or pay a high donation sum.
The Olympics pose a special challenge for top Muslim athletes this time: the fasting month of Ramadan coincides with the competitions in London. Many Muslim athletes then have to find a solution to deal with fasting. According to Muslim beliefs, they are not allowed to fast during Ramadan, which ends in Britain on 21. July begins, neither eating nor drinking allowed from sunrise to sunset.
One of the Muslim athletes is Briton Mohamed Sbihi. He is the first practicing Muslim in the history of the British rowing team. "When I started rowing in 2003, I announced that I would fast during Ramadan," Sbihi told Britain’s The Guardian newspaper. But at that time, Ramadan was during the winter months, when rowing involves less training.
It was only last year that Sbihi decided to stop fasting. "Rowers need to burn more than 4.burn 500 calories a day when they exercise," he explained. Since Ramadan, which moves through the calendar year, was in summer in 2011, he quickly realized that he could no longer fast. ‘I just didn’t know how to reconcile this with my faith’."Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, as are the profession of faith, daily prayers, the tax on the poor and the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Free purchase possible
Sbihi finally found a solution in the Quran: "The Quran says: For every day you deliberately break your fast, you must fast for 30 more days or feed 60 people," Sbihi said. And so the rower decided to spend about 2.000 pounds (about 2.400 euros) to donate 1.Financing food for 800 poor people in Morocco. Although he regrets not being able to fast, he says. But he does not want to miss the unique opportunity to win a medal at the Olympic Games.
That’s how athletes from other countries see it, too: Palestinian runner Bahaa al-Farra obtained permission from his imam not to fast. Qatari-born sprinter Noor al-Malki told the New York Times, "You have to respect Ramadan, but I want to set a new national record. If Ramadan doesn’t work, I won’t fast." And even the soccer team of the United Arab Emirates has obtained an exemption from their government.
While criticism in Muslim communities was initially high because of the date of the Games, many Muslim organizations in Britain now support the Olympics, including the Muslim Council of Britain. The London organizing committee is doing its best to involve as many groups as possible in the organization in order to meet the needs of athletes and visitors.
Many prayer rooms
Every sports facility has, for example, a prayer room. There are special food packages to be able to eat even late in the evening and early in the morning. For the first time, the meat available to Muslim participants will be controlled according to the standards of the European Halal Development Agency. The Arabic word "halal" means "allowed" or "pure": animals are slaughtered according to the Islamic rite – without anesthesia and with an incision through the carotid artery, esophagus and trachea.
In the past, not only Muslims but also Christians have repeatedly had problems reconciling their faith with the schedule of the Games: In 1924, for example, the Scotsman Eric Liddell withdrew his participation in the 100-meter race in Paris because the competition was to take place on a Sunday. For the devout Christian, a run on a Sunday was unacceptable. And so, in the months leading up to the Olympics, he trained for the 400-meter race, which was held on a weekday. His chances were much worse here. But in the end he ran world record and became Olympic champion.