Muslims will be among the hardest hit during the Coronavirus pandemic

24th Mar 2020
Muslims will be among the hardest hit during the Coronavirus pandemic

(Photo credit: J J Ellison/WikiCommons)

The UK, along with many other countries, is playing catch-up in confronting the speed and virulence of the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world.

Due to the contagiousness of the sudden outbreak and unprecedented concerns especially for the elderly and those with underlying health issues, The Muslim News had no option but to postpone its prestigious annual awards ceremony at the end of March.

In the uncertain climate, mosques and Islamic centres across the UK began to suspend congregational services including the obligatory Friday prayers and madrasahs to protect worshippers from Covid-19 even before the Government guidelines of closing down religious gatherings.

Mosques are important for Muslims not only for their spiritual needs but it is also a place of social interaction during the congregations. Young Muslims go to the mosques daily to learn about Islam in madrasahs. During Ramadan, which will fall in April, Muslims go for daily congregational prayers including nightly Taraweeh prayers.

During the holy month, Muslims also attend mosques for communal iftar (breaking of the fast). Therefore, closing down of mosques, which is attended by hundreds of thousands of Muslims, will be a devastating blow on the community.

The Muslim News surveyed over 700 mosques and Islamic centres across the UK on what steps they are taking to limit the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). The result was mixed.
Some said they were suspending or had suspended all activities in the mosques including congregational and Friday prayers.

Whilst others said they continued with these prayers but had requested those over 60 years not to attend; told those attending should do wudu (ritual washing) at home; these mosques, however, had suspended other activities like madrasahs and sport.

All mosques should suspend congregational (Jama’a) prayers including obligatory Friday prayers as the health of the worshippers is of paramount importance. Islam places the lives and health of people above everything else as has been argued in the front-page story by various scholars. Covid-19 is easily spread through gatherings. Social distancing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of the virus.

It is hoped Muslim leaders who still have not decided to close the Jama’a prayers will reconsider for the sake of the health of their worshippers.

The Government is responsible to ensure all citizens are protected against the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. The policies until now seem to be favouring the mainly the privileged.
Muslims are already suffering economically due to the Government’s austerity policy and now with the Coronavirus impact, it will be worse.

19.8 per cent of the Muslim population is in fulltime employment, compared to 34.9 per cent of the overall population. 7.2 per cent of Muslims are unemployed compared to 4 per cent of the overall population. 46 per cent of Muslims live in the top 10 per cent most deprived areas in the UK.

The Government has not considered the impact on especially the impoverished Muslim community. Unless serious help is provided by the Government, Muslims, whose unemployment rate is almost twice the national average, will be the worst hit by the projected job losses.

NOTICE: This editorial was written last week, prior to the UK Government announcement of a nation-wide lockdown.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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