London has a maverick mayor by the name of Boris Johnson, who, according to this week’s UK Jewish Chronicle, suggested that non-Muslims have a go at fasting during Ramadan to understand better, other faiths.

It was on the cards therefore, that someone should ask Boris if the same invitation should be made, for the same inter-faith understanding, to fast for Yom Kippur.

There was some difficulty obtaining a timely response, it seems. Eventually, Boris’ spokesperson, a recent ex-BBC political reporter by the name of Gito Harri, (he of lovely Welsh dulcet tones) came back with an answer. It was easier to suggest a fast during Ramadan as there are more days to choose from!

A comment was sought from the previous Mayor of London, (described as Boris’ nemesis) who said, and here I paraphrase “I am an atheist. However, you don’t have to be circumcised and not eat pork to respect people’s beliefs“.



  1. WW is much easier than Yom Kippur or Ramadan. With the first it is from nightfall to nightfall, total abstinence. not a drop of anything passes your lips in that time; with the other,you break your fast on a daily basis, in the evening, during daylight you eat nothing. I am unsure about the liquid allowance, if any.

    As you say, WW is probably easier!

  2. As an athiest, unlike Ken Livingdead, I’ll be more straight forward and say, why fast at all? I’m sure if you are ill and refuse to eat or drink, similar to the Jehovah’s Witness ban on blood transfusions, and then die, neither you or your family will receive much sympathy.
    This since almost all doctors see religion as “clutching at straws”.

  3. 🙂

    Christians have Lent which is much reduced on the daytime fast of Moslems, (I don’t know if that also excludes drinking some water) but, the Lent observance, cutting out something you like eating, if you do observe, is over a longer time span. It has evocations of the fast philosophy, that’s about all. Judaism requires one longer fast period, which is total, no fluids either. There are exceptions in both faiths, lactating mums, pregnant women, people who have medical conditions, the frail and so on. Children over a certain age have a partial requirement.

    That said, if someone doesn’t believe, it does not mean they should not understand. I think Ken Livingston had a fair point to make, and he made it well. He also made the point as a stated atheist.

    I know a large number of doctors who do believe in their respective religions and are devout. My guess is, they would represent in microcosm, the population mix of believers.

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