The Transportation Security Administration has released a rather important and necessary note for travelers who wish to fly next month. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security agency wants people to remain calm and composed if they come across any Muslims observing Ramadan.
During the holy month, Muslims fast for thirty (or twenty nine) days. They do not eat or drink anything at all until the sun sets, perform prayers and read the Holy Quran.
TSA though it was important that they issue an official notice for travelers to “not panic” while flying with Muslims, probably because of reasons pertaining to terrorism (stereotyping).
The statement reads, “Ramadan, a holy month for persons of the Muslim faith, begins this year approximately on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 and ends on Thursday, August 8, 2013. TSA understands that this is a significant religious event for the Muslim community. TSA has reminded its security workforce that traveling passengers may be observed at various areas in the airport - including security checkpoints or on aircraft - engaged in religious practices and meditations during Ramadan.”
TSA has also set out a list of instruction.
“TSA would also like to inform the traveling public that they may notice passengers who are observing Ramadan engaging in the following activities at the airports:
1. Passengers observing Ramadan will abstain from any food, water, smoking or vices of any kind.
2. Passengers observing Ramadan may be more likely to engage in prayer at airports or on airplanes while traveling than at other times during the year.
3. Before prayer, Muslims go through ablution, i.e., a cleansing or washing of certain areas of the body that is usually done in private if possible, but may be observed in airport restrooms.
4. Passengers observing Ramadan may be seen reading, listening to or orally reciting the Holy Qur’an at airports and on airplanes.
5. Passengers observing Ramadan may carry prayer beads and “whisper” prayers constantly.”
It’s a good step. Actually, it is a necessary step that will benefit both Muslim and non-Muslim travelers to avoid any confusion or mishaps.