Daisy Cooper, MP for St Albans, has joined prominent figures in the British Asian community in signalling the need to maintain Covid-19 social
distancing during Ramadan, the holy month of Islam, which begins on Thursday evening (23 April).
“I know that many families in St Albans will be preparing for the start of Ramadan, when normally there would be lots of family and community gatherings. Unfortunately, this year social distancing does not allow these to happen if we are to save lives and protect the NHS,” said Daisy.
The holy month of Ramadan calls on Muslims around the world to engage in devotional fasting during the hours of daylight. The exceptions are the young, the old, the sick and some others.
Akhtar Zaman, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire and chairman of the St Albans Islamic Centre, says that the central role played by mosques will be different this year due to social distancing.
“In normal circumstances, hundreds of people would be attending daily congregational acts of worship or breaking their fast in the community at sunset ‘iftar’ time. This year it will be different as we have to consider people’s safety and follow government, medical and religious guidance for Covid-19.
“Congregational meetings will not be held, but mosques will continue to support the community in online virtual ways,” he said.
“It’s also important to remember and support the many Muslims who are key workers and will continue to provide critical services during Ramadan,” Akhtar added.
Fellow Muslim and St Albans district councillor for Park Street, Syed Abibi, said: “Personally, I’m following the same advice I’m sharing with the Muslim community at large, which comes from the Muslim Council of Britain and World Health Organisation that healthy people should be able to fast during Ramadan as in previous years.
“They advise that Covid-19 patients can consider religious licences for breaking the fast in consultation with their doctors, as they would do with any other disease.”
The Muslim Council of Britain has produced a guide to Ramadan At Home, which includes information on holding online virtual iftars, as well as advice to employers and mosques, and on working and studying from home.
A number of stars from the world of music, TV and the media have also joined forces to produce a coronavirus advice video, including Eastenders’ actor Nitin Ganatra, ITV news presenter Ranvir Singh, Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ameet Chana and GMB’s Adil Ray - see below!
“We know that Covid-19 is affecting black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities
disproportionately, so it’s great to see British-Asia celebs getting this urgent message out a few days before the start of Ramadan,” added Daisy Cooper.