AIBU to eat in front of my muslim coworkers?

(282 Posts)

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EmmbadTheBad Sun 27-Jul-14 21:02:58

So it's Ramadan at the moment. I was at a meeting at work recently and a muslim woman, who I don't work with directly, made a comment about how thoughtless the people she shares an office with are for eating in front of her while she is fasting (at this point everyone glances guiltily towards the biscuits in the middle of the table). There are a couple of muslim women in my office and, I'll be honest, it had not even occurred to me that it might be insensitive to eat in front of them while they are fasting.

We do have a kitchen at work but it's very small and a lot of people, myself included, tend to eat at their desks. Quite apart from anything - as an atheist - I don't want to be observing other people's religious beliefs. I know Ramadan is nearly over but I intend to continue eating at my desk. IABU? Would appreciate opinion from anyone fasting at the mo.

asmallandnoisymonkey Sun 27-Jul-14 21:07:35

You are absolutely NOT being unreasonable. It's a tenet of her faith that she must fast - if it's not a tenet of yours then why on earth should you change your habits?

She was being VVV unreasonable to even think about making a comment.

sweetnessandlite Sun 27-Jul-14 21:08:41

It's lunchtime and you have to eat. Eating is a basic human right. You shouldn't have to go hungry - they are the ones following it, not you.

MrsCumbersnatch Sun 27-Jul-14 21:11:09

for heavens sake, shes ridiculous

gamerchick Sun 27-Jul-14 21:12:01

I have a De Ja vu hmm

needaholidaynow Sun 27-Jul-14 21:12:26

I thought this was a "multicultural society". Muslims celebrate Ramadan, others such as yourself don't. So she should be able to go about her life doing the things she wants to do and you can do the same, even if that includes scoffing a few biscuits! Why should everyone pussy foot around just because they don't follow the Islamic faith? I don't get what's so offensive about it.

WorraLiberty Sun 27-Jul-14 21:12:31

YANBU, the woman's an idiot.

I've worked with loads of Muslims over the years and non of them have ever expected people not to go about their normal meals and snacks.

londonrach Sun 27-Jul-14 21:12:50

She is bu. it's lunchtime. Her faith makes her choose to ignore her basic needs. If it worries her that much she should leave the room. The people I know who are museum respect my need to eat and not pass out.

londonrach Sun 27-Jul-14 21:14:01

Muslim not museum. Ipad on naughty step with a time out....

gordyslovesheep Sun 27-Jul-14 21:14:36

I have never worked with a muslim who said this - of course she is BU - but I also think eating at your desk is icky

Latara Sun 27-Jul-14 21:14:43

YANBU - although I suppose it depends how religious your Muslim colleague is and how seriously she regards Ramadan? Perhaps she isn't as religious as the Muslims who I know and therefore finds fasting more difficult.

A colleague of mine is fasting and she would never expect non-Muslims not to eat or drink in front of her as she regards her fasting as a type of spiritual test to show she can endure hunger and thirst even when others around her are enjoying food and drink.

Another (Muslim) colleague who is also very religious said he doesn't feel hunger during fasting as he is 'spiritually full' if that makes sense?

EmmbadTheBad Sun 27-Jul-14 21:16:19

She said it makes her feel uncomfortable being around food (which I can understand if she is bloody hungry!) and so she has to go out for her lunchbreak even if she doesn't want to. A lot of people at the meeting seemed sympathetic so I wondered if it was just me thinking "Stuff that!".

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sun 27-Jul-14 21:16:36

This has to be number 3 now, gamer, surely?

Although possibly the first one to get human rights and supposed multicultural society onto the first page.

happytalk13 Sun 27-Jul-14 21:16:41

She is BU - she is following her faith and she has no right to force any part of that on others. Period. She is the one who is insensitive to the fact that her choices are her choices, no one else's. Entitled comes to mind.

TheBogQueen Sun 27-Jul-14 21:17:33

Haven't we had this before????

WorraLiberty Sun 27-Jul-14 21:18:10

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Andrewofgg Sun 27-Jul-14 21:18:10

Would you eat a pork meal with Jewish colleagues around?

Or meat of any sort in the presence of Buddhist colleagues?

Of course you would. And that answers the question. It does not matter how religious she is - she has to live with it.

CoreyTrevorLahey Sun 27-Jul-14 21:18:34

No Muslim person I have ever met has asked me not to eat in front of them during Ramadan.

Littlef00t Sun 27-Jul-14 21:19:59

But surely everyone else in the office would have to go out at lunch to eat if they didn't eat in front of her, which as she is the one choosing to fast would be silly.

fredfredgeorgejnr Sun 27-Jul-14 21:20:46

I think it depends on a number of things - how she was complaining for example, people on a diet, people who don't like the particular cake that's arrived, all sorts of people make comments about people eating when they can't. It's not unreasonable when it's not a complaint, just an observation about how tough it is for them to resist - it's not great either as it's really about highlighting their sacrifice, but it's generally not a complaint against others.

Equally, if it's really easy for you to avoid eating in front of someone fasting, then it's unreasonable not to make that small allowance, same as you'd not start stuffing lots of cream cakes to the cake lover who's on a diet. If it's not practical or easy, then it's not unreasonable not to avoid.

I to have never had any fasting colleagues complain other than in a general discussion of what makes it tough for them about others eating, and certainly none have ever asked for allowances, but that doesn't mean it's not nice to occasionally think of them when eating.

Bluebelljumpsoverthemoon Sun 27-Jul-14 21:23:08

She's entitled to fast if that makes her happy, she's not entitled to force her choices on others. Other people would be very unreasonable if they were trying to tempt her by offering her food or trying to talk her into giving up her fasting, nobody is unreasonable to carry on eating their lunch as normal. She's being very unreasonable to expect others to deprive themselves in front of her.

WorraLiberty Sun 27-Jul-14 21:24:00

I disagree fred

Even people on diets would be rude to call others thoughtless for eating cake in front of them.

If she thinks they are thoughtless, perhaps she should have kept that thought to herself?

Pinkrose1 Sun 27-Jul-14 21:24:21

Your co worker was BU. It is not reasonable to expect you to alter your lunchtime habit for her.

I have a Muslim friend and when I visited last week repeatedly told her you don't need to feed me, as she normally does a fab lunch. I came in the time between breakfast and lunch so I wasn't starving and it avoided awkwardness for her.

My poor friend is painfully thin though and I did worry about the affect of fasting on her health, but I respect her beliefs, even though she did say she was hungry and her stomach had shrunk so much when she did eat it was only a tiny amount and she felt sick sad

FreudiansSlipper Sun 27-Jul-14 21:25:03

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LineRunner Sun 27-Jul-14 21:26:03

Never in my entire life, and I have worked in the Middle East, has a Muslim person asked me not to eat during Ramadan.

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