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Muslim farmhands in the northern province of Mantua could be forced to drink water during Ramadan in order to keep their job under a decision by the local Farming Safety Committee.

The committee, made up of representatives from Italy's two largest agricultural associations and three biggest trade unions, has issued an order making it obligatory for farm labourers to drink water while working The order, which comes in the middle of a heatwave, will extend throughout the summer into the fast of Ramadan, which this year starts on August 20.

During the month-long fast of Ramadan, Muslims are strictly prohibited from eating or drinking anything, including water, between dawn and dusk.

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