Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Forced ramadan

Hi Sam,I am really worried about ramadan.

It’s not my choice,I am forced to do this.Even money wont motivate me.I have to get up at 3 in the morning.

What should I do?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

When you’re forced to take part in a religious practice it can be difficult to know what to do. Your family and community might put a lot of pressure on you to do or say things that you don't believe in. It's important to be able to have conversations about what you believe with your family and friends, but it's also important that you feel ready and comfortable having that conversation.

When a family or community follows a religion they’ll often assume that their children will believe in the same things they do.  While they may not mean any harm, it’s wrong for them to assume your religious beliefs. This assumption often puts young people under a lot of pressure and makes them worry that believing something else will disappoint their families and friends. Childline has advice to help when you’re not getting on with family, and how to deal with peer pressure.

If you’re feeling worried about being honest with your family, first try thinking about:

·       What might things be like for you if you were open about what you want - would they be better or worse?

·       What about if you kept your feelings to yourself - would that be better or worse?

·       Thinking through your options like this can help you decide what to do.

If after this you choose to tell your family about not wanting to participate in Ramadan – they might have questions about why. It may help you to explain to them if you prepare some reasons for the way you feel before you talk to them. Talking to them about Ramadan might lead to a bigger conversation about whether you believe in the god of their religion or in something else: this could be another religion, no religion (atheism) or that you’re unsure (agnostic). Remember you have the right to be treated with respect and to practise or not practise a religion or your beliefs. Childline has advice about how to start a conversation that might help, or you can practice what you want to say with a Childline counsellor.

You could also choose to keep this to yourself and to go along with Ramadan even though you don't want to. If you decide to do this, it can help to think of ways to cope during the festival. Fasting is a big part of Ramadan, so if you don’t want to fast you might need to decide how and when you’ll eat and drink. Remember, you don't owe anyone an explanation even if you’re asked about what you’ve eaten.

It might help to talk about this with other people in your situation. Childline's message boards have a forum about religion where you might find other young people sharing ways to cope with Ramadan if you aren’t a believer or fasting.

Remember you can always talk to a Childline counsellor about how you’re feeling – and it’s OK to call or get in touch whenever you need to.

Thanks for sharing this with me, I hope this letter has helped.

Take care,


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