Good information for non-Muslims during Ramadan
Embassy of the United States of America
September 4, 2007
CONSULAR WARDEN MESSAGE
Revised Consular Information Sheet for Qatar and
ACS Hours of Operation and Qatar's Cultural Norms
During the Islamic month of Ramadan
The U.S. Embassy in Doha would like to alert American citizens to a change in American Citizens Services public service hours during the upcoming Islamic Month of Ramadan. During the month of Ramadan, the Embassy will provide American Citizen Services from 10am to 12:00pm, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Ramadan will likely begin on September 12, 2007, depending on Islamic scholars' sighting of the moon. Ramadan will last for approximately 30 days, or one lunar month, and will finish on or about October 11, 2007. The Embassy also wishes to draw the attention of U.S. citizens to local customs that should be observed during the month of Ramadan:
* Muslims are required to fast from sunrise to sunset during the month of Ramadan. As such, it is illegal in Qatar to eat, drink (even water), or smoke in public during fasting hours, i.e., approximately 5:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Approximate times for sunrise and sunset will be announced in local newspapers. If Muslims are present in the work place, they expect non-Muslims to respect their fasting and not eat, drink, or smoke in front of them, even in motor vehicles, or to prepare food that they can smell or see. As it is illegal to serve food or drink during fasting hours, restaurants will be closed during daylight hours, with the exception of a few hotel restaurants that serve non-Muslims only. Restaurants will begin serving food at sundown, but expect them to be crowded, especially during Iftar, the first meal immediately after sunset. If you are in a hotel, and they do not serve a meal at a time you require, you will find that room service is normally available or the dining room will have an isolated area where non-Muslims are served.
* While modest dress and respectful behavior between the sexes (even between married couples) are normal social customs in Qatar, this is particularly so during Ramadan.
* Shops and markets are open in the morning, often closed in the afternoon, but open again for a few hours after sunset. Shops and stores will have extended hours into the late evening and early morning to accommodate Ramadan hours of operation.
* If possible, please avoid driving in the hour immediately before sunset. One should be extra alert at this time, as many Muslims will be rushing to family member's or friend's home or a restaurant to break their fast. Many accidents occur at this time, some very serious.
This message may be accessed on the Embassy website, http://qatar.usembassy.gov.
Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the U.S. Embassy in Doha's website, http://qatar.usembassy.gov, and the U.S. Department of State's travel website at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution, Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement, and other Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. The U.S. Embassy also encourages U.S. citizens to review to "A Safe Trip Abroad," found at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/safety/safety_1747.html, which includes valuable security information for those both living and traveling abroad. In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.
Citizens living and residing in Qatar are advised to register their presence in the country through the U.S. Department of State's automated online registration system, https://travelregistration.state.gov. U.S. citizens may also contact the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy via email at ACSconsularDoha@state.gov or by calling 488-4101, extension 6500. Further updates will be forthcoming when new information is available. This complete message is available on the Embassy's website at http://qatar.usembassy.gov.
Don't think the hotels stop serving breakfast in Ramadan.
Certainly in the Ramada they serve family breakfast but behind screens. This normally takes a week or so to register with expats and the first couple of weeks used to be pretty quiet.