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The British Muslim leadership has criticised a school trust for banning children from fasting during RamadanGetty

British Muslim leaders have criticised an east London primary school trust for banning pupils from fasting during Ramadan because of the hot weather.

Barclay Primary School in Leyton sent the letter to parents just before the month-long daylight fast starts on Thursday 18 June, telling them that it would not allow children to fast to "safeguard the health and education of the child".

It stated: "We are reliably informed that in Islamic Law, children are not required to fast during Ramadan only being required to do so when they become adults." It also noted that fasting was required only of adults, not children, according to Islamic law, describing how children "fainted" last year after going without food or drink for "18 hours, a significant amount of time for a child".

The ban will affect three other Lion Academy Trust schools: Sybourn Primary School and Thomas Gamuel Primary School in Waltham Forest and Brook House Primary School in Haringey.

However, a spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) has slammed the move.

He said: "We believe that there are sufficient and stringent rules within Islam which allow those who are unable to fast, or to break fast.

"These rules include those who are medically ill or compromised; or too young or too old to fast.

"However, we believe that this determination should be decided by parents with their children; who can together reach a collective decision whether or not the child can fast.

"MAB ascertains that the final choice of whether or not to fast should be the right of the parents, who should in turn encourage their children to fast without forcing them to do so."