President of the Muslim League of T&T Farz Khan has said that the celebration of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan which will begin on April 23, will be affected by the COVID-19 restrictions.
He told the Guardian on Saturday that the local Muslim community celebrations are guided by T&T Government policy such as a number of persons in a gathering and social distancing.
“By and large the Muslim community understands the situation and in most of the Masjids, already the decision has been taken that there will be no congregational meetings which are normal for the month of Ramadan. There is also the nightly prayer that all Muslims engage in during the month of Ramadan and this is done collectively in the Masjids. At this moment, there are no plans for this unless the Government removes the restrictions based on new information.”
He also said that the breaking of the fast, known in Islam as Iftar, would not be taking place at the Mosques.
He added these rituals would now take place at home.
Khan said they have already begun to discuss the possibility of streaming of religious services.
He believes that the local Muslim population in T&T understands the seriousness of the situation and they have been accommodating.
“The information given by the Government ministries was well done in terms of communicating the impact of the COVID-19. By and large, everyone understands and they appreciate the need to restrict themselves and maintain the guidelines put forward by the World Health Organization (WHO).”
He also spoke about the international Muslim community in the Middle East and other regions of the world where he said they have had to make changes to the way they carry out their religious practices.
“From what we have seen, the Muslim countries have taken similar action like the putting off of the congregational prayer. We have seen this happen in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is a difficult time for all but we need to cope with the situation,” he said.