COVID-19 has significant impacts on Muslim holy month of Ramadan - InfoNews

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COVID-19 has significant impacts on Muslim holy month of Ramadan

Due to COVID-19, the holy month of Ramadan will look very different for the Muslim communities in the Thompson-Okanagan.
Image Credit: PIXABAY / Ahmad Ardity
April 24, 2020 - 6:30 PM

If you find yourself eating out of isolation-related boredom, take a moment to consider those who have just begun a month of fasting for Ramadan.

Muslims around the world are taking part in the holy celebration until May 23, and do not eat or drink anything between dawn and dusk, take part in six daily prayers, often break the fast together and hold a celebration and feast when Ramadan concludes.

Hamid Butt is the secretary of the Kelowna Islamic Centre and says the celebration looks a lot different this year, as the congregation can no longer come together.

“It’s kind of the busiest time of the year, but because of this whole thing we have our mosque closed,” Butt said. “People bring their food, they share their food and they worship together. It really builds the community, and that’s the part we’re missing… it’s challenging and disappointing for a lot of people who look forward to that.”

Butt said there are more than 400 families who visit the Kelowna location. He says the members now must do daily prayers apart from one another, and the lectures for adults and children are now given online. 


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More than just the Muslim community is impacted by not being able to celebrate together. Butt says the mosque picks one charity to specifically support during the holy month and chose the Kelowna Food Bank due to the current increase in visits. Without people making food donations at the mosque and due to some members losing their job, Butt says they have already noticed the impact.

“It certainly has quite a big effect on the donations coming in,” Butt said. “There are job losses and cutbacks and all of that, we have seen a significant decrease but we also understand.”

Butt said the fast is also more trying due to isolation. It can be hard for some even during regular years, but he encourages spiritual strength to help Muslims stick to the fast.

“Being isolated in the house, it may not seem that much but it really wears on you… I have food I can’t eat and I have a drink I can’t drink, and I need to discipline myself,” Butt says.
“It gets hard, but we haven’t heard anything specifically yet about the craving of the food.”

To learn more about Ramadan, check out the B.C. Muslim Association’s website.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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