UPDATE: Four days after this story was published, MUIS responded with the following message: “Muslims should always be mindful of their speech, even when they are being honest and true. In giving advice, Muslims should be polite and measured in their approach, as it will make others feel more comfortable and possibly make it easier for them to accept advice. Although there are no specific rulings on whether a Muslim is allowed to eat in front of someone fasting or otherwise, Islam teaches us to respect, be mindful and show mercy towards others.”
A video of four Muslim women being confronted for dining in public, including eating non-halal food, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan has gone viral since the weekend, capturing viewers even in Malaysia.
The women, all of who were wearing the hijab, were slurping their bowls of noodles at what looked like a hawker center in Singapore when they were filmed being taunted by their harasser from behind the camera for “embarrassing Muslims.” The video has since gotten tens of thousands of reactions on social media and has even been posted to Malaysian pages.
“She said she works with a Chinese person, and then she can eat,” the female voice said in Malay from behind the camera. “I said this is Muslim, we are Muslims.”
“You’re wearing the hijab. What’s happening to all of you?!” she added. Muslims are currently observing the fasting month until Eid celebrations begin next Thursday.
It is not clear where or when the video was recorded or who had filmed the incident. The viral video did not show how the altercation started.
Only one of the four diners had reacted to the woman verbally attacking them from behind the camera. Speaking in a visibly Indonesian accent, the diner in green hijab pointed out that her Islamic beliefs were not the same. She had also tried to come closer to the camera before she was told to sit down and was threatened to be reported to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, or MUIS.
The video has garnered strong reactions from those who condemned the woman who filmed the incident over her intrusive behavior, as well as those who disapproved of the four diners for purportedly disrespecting Ramadan.
“You’re already not fasting and you still want to eat Chinese food?” Facebook user Jihair bin Adey said. Red crockery indicates non-halal food.
“Ramadan is all about patience so if seeing people eat already makes u angry then it defeats the purpose of u fasting (sic),” Twitter user @4ngyboba said.
Unlike in Malaysia, it is not illegal to eat in public during Ramadan in Singapore, although it is common for many to refrain from doing so.