An immunologist in Norway has called on Muslims to relax their fasting rules on Ramadan as dry mucous membranes from not drinking increase the risk of viral infections.
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and observed by Muslims as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community, begins today (23rd April) and continues until 23rd May.
Many of Norway’s 200,000 Muslims will not consume food or drink between sunrise and sunset.
However, immunologist Professor Anne Spurkland said that dry mucous membranes increase the risk of viral infections and that Muslims should drink water during their fasting month.
She told local media that she believes the pandemic is so severe that previous norms should not be followed.
Spurkland added that rinsing your mouth with water is allowed during fasting and will help to prevent dry mucous membranes.
However, the Muslim Dialogue Network said that it is not possible to relax the fasting rules, but every devotee is able to decide whether they are healthy enough to fast.
The Islamic Council Norway told local media that the immunologist’s advice is not scientifically proven to help prevent COVID-19 infection and that they consulted with numerous experts prior to Ramadan.
Islamic Council spokesperson Yasir Ahmed said: “We take into account the infection control rules and see how it goes.”
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