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Covid-19 Dampens Eid Celebrations

Jul 31, 2020

Countries celebrating Eid al Adha on Friday had had their festivities dampened by restrictions implemented to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.

Muslim families and friends, under normal circumstances, gather to pray together and to share meals. The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the way the Islamic tradition was observed.

In Kenya, The Standard reports that in Nairobi, the “streets are empty, reflecting a shadow of its former self”. There were no shoppers moving about in excitement to buy new clothes and supplies for the festival. Mosques in Kenya had suspended prayer meetings under strict government orders to control the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, in Nigeria, police had requested people to “comply with the ban on all mass socio-religious gathering”, according to the BBC.

Arab News reports that streets were also largely empty in Baghdad, due to a 10-day lockdown imposed by Iraqi authorities, and that Eid prayers in mosques were cancelled. Marwan Madhat, a Baghdad cafe owner says, “We had hoped that the curfew would be lifted during the Eid period … we were surprised that the lockdown period included the Eid holiday and more.”

In Lebanon, Muslim worshippers prayed in mosques under tight security. This was, however, despite a partial lockdown imposed on Thursday that is to continue through to August 10. To maintain social distancing rules, worshippers at the Mohammad al-Amin Mosque in the capital, Beirut, performed their prayers in the street outside.

Arab News reports that in Indonesia, worshippers attended Eid prayers in mosques, but under strict health guidelines. Attendees had to bring their own prayer mats and pray at a distance from each other. Worshippers had to wear masks and were not allowed to shake hands or hug. Indonesian authorities had also ordered that meat from the Eid sacrifices be delivered door-to-door to the poor, to avoid long collection lines.

Muslim leaders in Albania and Kosovo had called on their communities to limit family visits to avoid transmission of the virus.

Umm Muhammed Umar

 

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