Denmark's immigration minister criticised over Ramadan comment

She says that because those observing Ramadan can’t eat or drink for up to 18 hours, that it is a potential safety risk to the rest of society.

FILE: Indonesian Muslims gather at the Baiturrahman Raya mosque in Banda Aceh to offer Eid al-Fitr prayers on 25 June 2017. Eid al-Fitr festival marks the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan during which devotees are required to abstain from food, drink and sex from dawn to dusk. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - Denmark’s Immigration Minister Inger Stojberg has been criticised for suggesting that Muslims should take time off work during Ramadan.

She says that because those observing Ramadan can’t eat or drink for up to 18 hours, that it is a potential safety risk to the rest of society.

Stojberg has a reputation for hardline policies. In an article for a newspaper she says fasting throughout the working day raises challenges for a modern society.

She suggested there might be potential risks for bus drivers and hospital workers and those handling heavy equipment. However, Danish bus companies have already said they’ve no problem with their drivers observing Ramadan.

Since the minister’s party helped form a coalition government three years ago, Denmark has introduced a string of measures tightening up on immigration, some of which have been heavily criticised within the European Union.

Ramadan, one of Islam's five pillars, and the Muslim calendar that indicates on which day the fasting period is to end this year. Picture: AFP

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)