Malaysian Olympians can postpone Ramadan fast

Fatwa, posted 7.24.2012, from Malaysia, in:
Malaysian Olympians can postpone Ramadan fast (Photo: AFP)

Malaysian Islamic and Olympic officials said athletes from the predominantly Muslim country are excused from fasting for Ramadan while competing at the London Games.

The London Olympics which open Friday mark the first time the Games will be held during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan since the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Malaysia's New Straits Times newspaper said.

During Ramadan, which began last weekend, Muslims are expected to abstain from food, drink and sex from dawn until sunset, when they break their fast with a meal known as iftar.

But a senior member of the National Fatwa Council, Malaysia's top religious authority, said athletes can postpone their fast until after the Games as they are competing at an international event for the nation's honor.

"They are going to the Olympics to bring fame for the country. They can fast when they return to Malaysia," Mufti Harussani Zakaria, the top religious official for the Malaysian state of Perak, told AFP on Monday.

"The Quran says if you have a mission to complete, you can postpone the fasting but you must replace the number of days you did not fast."

Eleven out of the 30 Malaysian athletes going to London are Muslim.

One of Malaysia's top medal prospects, cyclist Azizulhasni Awang, who won silver at the 2009 track cycling world championships, is among the athletes who will put off fasting, Malaysian media reported this week.

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