• Spain's news in English
Ramadan row: Headmaster in Spain warns against fasting
A primary school head said children under 12 are exempt from observing Ramadan. File photo: AFP

Ramadan row: Headmaster in Spain warns against fasting

Fiona Govan · 13 Jun 2016, 14:40

Published: 13 Jun 2016 14:40 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The state school in Melilla, one of Spain’s two north African enclaves, is almost exclusively attended by Muslim pupils.

But as Ramadan got underway last week, the headteacher of Juan Caro primary school sent home an advisory letter.

"Observing Ramadan could provoke episodes of lightheadedness, migraines and sunstroke as a result of dehydration or lack of sustenance," warned the letter penned by Alfonso García Zafra.

His letter was accompanied by a missive from the Islamic studies teacher which pointed out that “students who have not reached puberty – and all who study here are under 12 – are exempt from fasting under Islamic teaching".

"So I advise  - and am supported by the Islam teacher - that parents follow this recommendation because of the host of activities planned until the end of term, and because of the heat."

During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to fast – refraining from eating or drinking - between dawn and dusk.

But some parents were said to be furious at the dictate.

Dris Mohamed Amar, the leader of Melilla’s Islamic Council, said a school had "no place interfering on religious matters," according to local paper El Faro Digital.

He also said that the school could not dictate when a child reached puberty, the age from which Muslims are expected to observe Ramadan.

Story continues below…

"It is up to parents and not the school to decide whether they have reached puberty and whether or not they should observe the fast," Amar told El Faro.

José Manuel Calzado from Melilla’s department of education sought to soothe tensions by insisting the letter was only intended to "remind parents that the school year was not yet over and that physical activities may form part of the curriculum and that fasting was not compulsory for children."

More than 50 percent of the population of Melilla, a city enclave of 12 square kilometres that borders Morocco, are Muslims.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Fiona Govan (fiona.govan@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Recipe: How to make classic Spanish ham croquettes
Photo: thespanishcuisine.com

Learn how to make this all-time Spanish favourite at home.

Halloween weekend: Sunny skies and nightmare traffic
Authorities expect 5.5 million cars to take to the road over the 'puente'. Archive photo: AFP

Spain is set for great weather over the long weekend. But be prepared for nightmare traffic.

Southern Spain will become a desert with global warming
Photo: Steven Stralton / Flickr

Southern Spain will become a desert if global warning continues, scientists have warned.

Eight Spanish films to truely terrify you this Halloween
Photo: Corie Howell / Flickr Creative Commons.

Looking for something to give you goosebumps this Halloween? The Local looks at eight Spanish films that are sure to have you cowering beneath the covers.

Spain's Socialists refuse to go easy on Rajoy once in power
Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists may have reluctantly decided to let Mariano Rajoy govern again but they will not go easy on the acting conservative premier once he re-takes power, they warned on Thursday.

Spain's Podemos sees golden opportunity in Socialist woes
Pablo Iglesias is ready to step up in opposition. Photo: AFP

As Spain's conservatives prepare to re-take power after 10 months of political limbo, anti-austerity party Podemos has set its sights on replacing the divided Socialists as the main opposition force.

Wildlife ranger accused over decapitated bison in Valencia
The headless corpse of Sauro was found last month. Photo: Carlos Alamo / Reserva de Valdeserrillas

The case of the beheaded bison at a wildlife reserve in Valencia just got a whole lot weirder.

Spain jobless drops below 20% for first time in six years
The unemployed queuing up outside a Madrid job centre. Photo: AFP

Spain's unemployment fell below 20 percent for the first time in six years, official figures showed on Thursday.

'Saints not ghouls' insists Spanish church for Halloween
Suggested outfits from the Bishopric of Cadiz and Ceuta. Photo: Shower of Roses

Spanish bishops are urging good Christian children to forgo zombie, ghost and devil outfits and instead dress up as "saints, virgins and apostles".

Tough road ahead, Spain PM warns before return to power
Rajoy will try and form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned on Wednesday of a tough road ahead as he prepares to take power again at the head of a minority government with little support.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
jobs available