US military personnel are observing eating and drinking restrictions during the holy month of Ramazan in a bid to respect the traditions of Muslim countries while serving in the Middle East.
The troops are reminded to be familiar with host-nation customs to help facilitate a long-lasting mutual respect with local communities there.
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“Members should be respectful of local customs and be patient with host nation personnel,” said Capt. Dan Sickles, host nation officer in-charge. “Ramazan is a countrywide religious celebration. Members should not make light of local customs and should also expect that during daylight hours host nation customer service will be abbreviated and less accommodating.”
The officer-in-charge also said that various stores off base would be closed during daylight hours.
When outside US 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 two months in jail.
“The commander’s policy dictates that airmen will adhere to local law, which prohibits eating, drinking or tobacco use off base in public,” said Sickles.
Personnel who are exempted from this rule are those who are performing tedious labour tasks outside US controlled areas. They are authorised to drink and consume as much food as they need to stay hydrated and energised.
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As airmen and other personnel adjust to this, Brig. Gen. John Quintas, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, outlined the type of conduct he expects throughout the holy month.
“As ‘Airmen-Ambassadors’ representing American and U.S. military values around the world, we are committed to the concepts of tolerance, freedom and diversity,” said Quintas. “I hope that during your service in the 380th AEW you become more informed and appreciative of the traditions and history of the people in this region of the world. Please remember we are guests here and that the host nation is our shoulder-to-shoulder, brothers and sisters in arms, risking their lives for our common cause to defeat terrorism.”
This article originally appeared on the United States Central Command.