Almost 5-million South Africans of all religions, races and sizes have signed a petition asking Muslims to brush their teeth during the fasting month.
An Avaaz petition signed and delivered to the large Muslim community in South Africa on Tuesday urged “for common sense to prevail and the madness to end”.
“We are asking our Muslims brothers and sisters to brush their teeth,” the petition said.
But Muslims across the country say they refuse to brush their teeth during the fasting month in which they aren’t allowed food, water or recreational activities like sex during office hours. Many Muslims believe brushing their teeth during the day would nullify the fast.
“First they ask us to brush our teeth, next they will ask us to leave our religion,” Imran Yunus said. “Bad breath is part of our cultural heritage.”
The Islamic Medical Association (IMA) said on Tuesday that it was not the first time Muslims were being accused of foul breath.
A Muslim lawyers’ group told The Daily Vox the petition would have no clout in a South African court and that Muslims were well within their rights to be miffed.
Experts across the country say bad breath is to Ramadaan what fireworks are to Diwali.
“They just scare people,” one unnamed expert said.