Council backs Ramadan but won’t do Christmas

Councillors in Tower Hamlets, East London, have been told not to eat in town hall meetings during the Muslim month of Ramadan.

But the same council has renamed a staff Christmas party as a ‘festive meal’ and banned Guy Fawkes at bonfire night.

All elected councillors have been sent an email asking them to support Ramadan by not eating during daylight hours.

Special arrangements have also been made to disrupt council meetings to allow for Muslim prayer.

The move has led to accusations that the Labour-run council is favouring one religion over others.

Councillor Stephanie Eaton, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “I was rather disconcerted to see that the arrangements put in place for Ramadan, which we support for Muslim colleagues, have been imposed upon all councillors.

“We object to the request that non-Muslim councillors observe the fasting rules for Ramadan. This sends out the wrong message to our community.”

Councils embarrassed by Christianity:

BidefordMarch 2008 – the National Association of Local Councils wrongly advised Bideford Town Council in Devon that it could be sued for opening its meetings with Christian prayers.

TorbayJune 2005 – Torbay Council removes a wooden cross from the wall of a crematorium chapel, and renames the building a ‘ceremony hall’.

NorfolkMay 2005 – Norfolk County Council warns a Christian-run shelter for the homeless that it will lose £150,000 of funding unless it stops saying grace at mealtimes and putting out Bibles for use by guests.

IslingtonNovember 2005 – Islington Council bans Christmas lights and replaces them with “festive decorations”.

PeterboroughDecember 2004 – Peterborough City Council bans staff from sending each other Christmas greetings by email.

WorcesterNovember 2004 – Worcestershire County Council is urged by one of its ‘equality champions’ to scrap its 116 year-old tradition of beginning its bi-monthly meetings with Anglican prayers

BuckinghamshireDecember 2003 – Buckinghamshire County Council banned a church from publicising its Christmas services on a community notice board to avoid offending other religions.

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