With the tremendous spike in COVID-19 deaths in India being blamed on the hosting of unrestricted religious festivals, the local Muslim community has tightened protocols during its observance of Ramadan to ensure that there is no outbreak here.
Secretary of the Barbados Muslim Association, Suleiman Bulbulia, told Barbados TODAY that administrators of mosques across the island are also taking very seriously, the wearing of masks, and sanitizing the hands for all persons entering the place of worship.
People are also being discouraged from gathering at the mosques in groups to engage in discussions following prayers.
He said to be extra cautious, while there is usually the traditional “breaking fast” at the community level during Ramadan, the decision has been taken that this must only be done among people from the same household at this time.
Bulbulia said: “What we are also finding is that those with health challenges, they would opt not to go to the mosque and would just stay at home and do the necessary prayers. “
He noted that the local Muslim community is saddened by the situation in India where the spike in COVID-19 cases has so far claimed the lives of millions. He said members of the community have connections in India, especially the Villages in Gujarat.
“Every day in the mosques we get announcements of some family or relative who has passed away in India. It is almost a daily occurrence now when we go for prayers and we get announcements from the Imam to say a prayer for a family member who has passed away in India. The situation in India is very dire,” he said.
However, Bulbulia said this year’s Ramadan has been a better experience compared with last year when the island was on lockdown and mosques, like other places of worship, were closed.
He said now with an ease in restrictions and curfew hours, Muslims are able to go to the mosques for morning and evening prayers.
“What we have not been able to restart this year is the fast breaking when people would provide meals every day and the congregation in the mosques and others would come to the mosques to break fast. Because of the situation with COVID we haven’t been able to have done that this year. People break their fast at home with their families. But Ramadan this year is better for us and we continue to pray for the betterment of our society and the lifting of this virus which is happening right now,” Bulbulia added.
“This month of Ramadan you are expected to do a lot more charity and that continues and we are reminding everyone to continue in the acts of charity and in doing good things in giving to the needy in the community.”