On June 26,
2014, I read the following by Hendrick Simoes of Stars & Stripes Magazine:

personnel accustomed to drinking their coffee on the drive to work will have to
put that habit on hold for about a month. It’s one of a few lifestyle changes
Americans will have to make during the holy month of Ramadan.” (Click above
link for full article)

I was
intrigued by this, and how government agencies may react to this holiday, and
if they were instructed to do anything different. After nearly two years, I
finally received a response to my FOIA request to the National Security Agency
(NSA) and their observance of Ramadan.

documents obtained were of a June 19, 2015, internal NSA Newsletter entitled,
“The Daily Enterprise.” The headline reads, “Reflecting on Ramadan” and
outlined instructions for how all NSA employees were to respect and observe

Simply put
by this NSA newsletter:

is the ninth month of the Islamic year– the month in which the Quran,
Islam’s holy book, was revealed by God.

this time, Muslim people around the world fast from sunrise to sunset for
the entire month. This requires that they abstain from drinking,
eating and intimacy during those hours each day. Since fasting is one of
the five Pillars of Islam, Muslims around the world take the month of
Ramadan very seriously. For Muslims, fasting is the required way of
worshiping prescribed in the Quran.

we take a more detailed look at how Ramadan is observed, let’s first take
note of some of the ways that Ramadan

will manifest itself
here at NSA.”

Here are
some excerpts of the newsletter, as sent to all NSA personnel:

  • To start, throughout the month of Ramadan, please be
    mindfu I that the person working right next to you could be observing
    Ramadan. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, NSAI CSS has a significant
    number of Muslim employees.
  • Because they will be fasting from both food and
    beverages during daylight hours , most Muslims will be thirsty,
    hungry, and sleep-deprived at some point during this strenuous month. As a
    result, managers may see some behavioral changes and an increase in
    time-off requests throughout th is timeframe. The majority of Muslims
    will ask for time off during the last 10 days of Ramadan and the first 3
    days of the following month (the Eid ai-Fitr celebration). While
    everyone working at NSA is professional and adheres to high
    standards, if a Muslim employee seems to have a little less patience or
    endurance during the month of Ramadan, this may be a temporary effect
    of the daily fasting.
  • Everyone knows it is summer, which means that most
    offices will be planning their annual picnic/ morale-building
    activity (MBA) during this time. To be inclusive and to ensure
    maximum employee participation– since most Muslims wi ll be fasting
    during this month — please refrain from planning these types of MBA
    events during Ramadan.

To see more
of this newsletter, it is published below.

Declassified Documents

Download the .pdf [4
Pages, 0.6MB]

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