‘Muslim council chiefs ban tea and sandwiches during Ramadan’

Tower HamletsCouncillors have been ordered not to eat during town hall meetings while Muslim colleagues fast during the holy month of Ramadan. All elected members at Left-wing Tower Hamlets Council in East London have been sent an email asking them to follow strict Islamic fasting during September no matter what their faith.

But some members of the Labour-run council say the demands favour one religious group over the others. Dr Stephanie Eaton, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said she would ignore the restrictions. She said: “We object to the request that non-Muslim councillors observe the fasting rules for Ramadan. Our community consists of a huge number of different religions, all of which should be valued, and no one religion should be accorded more status or influence than others.”

This is not the first time the council, which has a broad ethnic make-up, has courted controversy. It has been criticised in the past for being “overly politically correct” after calling its staff Christmas meal a “festive meal”. And it has also staged a Bonfire Night party which featured a Bengal tiger instead of Guy Fawkes.

Daily Mail, 29 August 2008

See also World Net Daily, 29 August 2008

And, of course, the story has been seized on by the British National Party, who declare it to be “a dramatic example of how Britain is being steadily colonised by Islamic culture”.

Update:  You thought this was probably one of those”political correctness gone mad” stories, of the type that was pioneered back in the ’80s in order to discredit left-wing councils and is now used to encourage paranoid fantasies about a Muslim takeover of the West?

You’d be right. See “Tower Hamlets denies imposing Ramadan request on council staff“, which reports:

“The authority today strongly denied the claims that all staff had been told to follow rules governing Ramadan, including suggestions that councillors would be stopped from consuming drinks and biscuits during meetings. A spokeswoman said the memo had been intended to stop non-Muslims eating the Iftar packs. She said: ‘At no stage have we imposed Ramadan arrangements on all staff’.”