Manama: Saudi Arabia has warned that foreigners who did not show consideration for the feelings of Muslims during the sacred month of Ramadan by not abstaining from food, drink or smoking in public will be expelled.

The month-long sunrise-to-sunset fast is due to start on Wednesday and people, both citizens and expatriates, are expected to avoid eating, drinking, smoking or chewing gum in public. “Those who are caught will be examined and will face legal action commensurate with their violation,” the interior ministry said, local Arabic daily Al Watan reported on Tuesday. “Punishment could be a prison term or lashes or both while foreigners could, in addition, be deported from the kingdom,” the warning said.

Sources from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice told the daily that the ministry had asked them to intensify their monitoring of the streets to ensure full compliance with the directives.

“This decision applies to all people, regardless of whether they are Muslims or not, and are in line with the regulations of Saudi Arabia that strictly ban public violations of Ramadan ethics and encourage genuine considerations for the feelings of Muslims during this auspicious month,” the sources said.