CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Coronavirus: Pleas for families to stay at home during Ramadan

Residents can break holy month fast with a conference call, councillor suggests

23 April, 2020 — By Helen Chapman

Age UK prepare special aid packages

FAMILIES have been urged to stay at home and not visit relatives during Ramadan, the Islamic holy month which begins today (Thursday).

Community workers said Muslims normally visited friends, families and mosques during this time of the year, but urged them to observe the ongoing lockdown rules aimed at slowing down the spread of the coronavirus.

It echoes the call for people not to visit relatives during other faith events earlier this month, including Passover in the Jewish calendar and Easter.

Abdul Kalam Rahman from the Al-Rahman Mosque and Education Centre in Godwin Court, Crowndale Road, which has been closed since the restrictions came in last month, said: “Our recommendation is to stay at home. If you do go out, it is only for exercise or to buy essentials. We have stuck letters on the mosque so people are aware it is closed until further notice. Ramadan is about spending time with family and strengthening your connection with God. You can help out and give to charity but this doesn’t necessarily have to be physical, it can be done through online payments.”

Age UK Camden is now working to provide emergency food parcels including dates, lentils, rice, spices and ghee during Ramadan. Labour cabinet councillor Abdul Hai, who has been working with Age UK to ensure vulnerable people unable to shop receive food parcels, said: “Ramadan is a time when family come together to celebrate and give to charity through donations. It is about seeking forgiveness from God and it is also about people coming together and praying together. That is why I believe the Muslim community could be at greater risk.

“Family time can be done by staying in and praying together. If people want to break their fast together they can do this on a conference call.

He added: “This will be a Ramadan like no other where it is absolutely critical that residents continue to observe social distancing guidelines. Please do not come together with family members or friends outside of your home to observe daily prayer or iftar as you would usually. “The greatest gift you can give this year at Ramadan is to stay at home and save lives.”

Nikki Morris, the chief executive at Age UK Camden, said: “It is vitally important that during this crisis we respect and support the diversity in our community and developing emergency food parcels appropriate for different faiths and cultures is one way in which we can do this.”

She added: “We are working closely with local community and faith leaders to develop this work.”

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