Ramadan – a special religious month for over one billion Muslims throughout the world –
begins this year begins on August 1st and ends on August 29, 2011.
This year, as it has in past years, the TSA is reminding both its workforce and non-Muslim travelers that “passengers may be observed in various areas in the airport – including in security checkpoints – or on aircraft, engaged in religious practices and meditations during Ramadan.”
On its website, the TSA includes a list of activities that passengers observing Ramadan will likely be engaging in.
[The message seems to be: Be respectful. And try not to overreact.]
Passengers observing Ramadan will abstain from any food, water, smoking or vices of any kind.
Passengers observing Ramadan are more likely to engage in prayer at airports or on airplanes while traveling than during other times of the year.
Before prayer, Muslims go through ablution, i.e., a cleansing or washing of certain areas of the body that is usually done in private if possible, but may be observed in airport restrooms.
Passengers observing Ramadan may be seen reading, listening to or orally reciting the Holy Qur’an at airports and on airplanes.
Passengers observing Ramadan may carry prayer beads and “whisper” prayers constantly.