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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
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If you’ve noticed your Muslim friends are a little grumpy today, just be extra nice. They’re probably just hungry. Today marks the first day of Ramadan, a month of fasting, reflection and extra prayer. offers the following tips for how non-Muslims can support their friends during Ramadan:

Employers, co-workers and teachers can help by understanding the
significance of Ramadan and by showing a willingness to make minor
allowances for its physical demands. Special consideration can be
given to such things as requests for vacation time, the need for
flexible early morning or evening work schedules and lighter
homework assignments. It is also very important that Muslim workers
and students be given time to attend Eid prayers at the end of
Ramadan. Eid is as important to Muslims as Christmas and Yom Kippur
are to Christians and Jews. A small token such as a card (there are
Eid cards available from Muslim bookstores) or baked goods given to
a Muslim co-worker during Eid ul-Fitr would also be greatly
appreciated. Hospital workers should be aware that injections and
oral medications may break the fast. Patients should be given the
opportunity to decide whether or not their condition exempts them
from fasting.