Several Islamic authorities, medics and local councils in Britain have issued warnings ahead of Ramadan, as Muslims in the UK gear up to fast for 19 hours during the holy month beginning on Saturday.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has said this year will be tough for fasters, while ambulance services and medics are pointing at the risk to the elderly and those with controlled medical conditions.

“In 2014, the fasting hours for Ramadan will be some 19 hours long. With some five hours only available to eat, drink, sleep and pray, Ramadan in the UK will be tough,” the MCB said in a statement.

During Ramadan, which begins on Sunday in Britain, Muslims abstain from food from dawn to dusk and strive to be more pious and charitable. They are also required to abstain from drinking liquids, smoking and having sex.

Diabetes and dehydration

An MCB leaflet advises: “Long fasts put you at higher risk of low blood sugar levels and dehydration. If the weather is hot you can also become dehydrated without drinking, which can make you ill. High blood sugar levels can also occur if you become dehydrated and/ or if you eat excessively at Suhoor or Iftar.”

The UK has a population of 2.7 million Muslims, of whom 325,000 have diabetes, according to The Guardian newspaper.

Such figures have led Britain’s North West Ambulance Service to issue a statement insisting that balanced food and fluid intake between fasts is essential…. see more