The Muslim communities in Hampton Roads have decided to move its annual Ramadan celebrations to a different format this year due the coronavirus.
Gov. Ralph Northam last week extended his executive orders on gatherings of more than 10 people and non-essential business closings to May 8.
“Basically we have decided we are closing down for Ramadan,” said Muhammad Amer, chairman of trustees at the Peninsula Islamic Community Center in Hampton, referring to mosques being closed to the public.
Amer said all the mosques met via teleconference on Saturday to discuss Ramadan, a holy month of fasting — Ramadan starts April 23 — commemorating the Quran and its celebratory feast, Eid-al-Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan.
During Ramadan, the community members reflect, pray and do charitable deeds, abstaining from luxuries and sinful deeds, similar to the Christian celebration of Lent.
The PICC, the Mosque of Williamsburg, Hampton Mosque, Muslim Community of Tidewater, TARF-Ansar Mosque and Crescent Community Center released a joint statement about their plans during the coronavirus.
“These are unprecedented times for all faith communities,” the statement read. “As our brothers and sisters in the Jewish and Christian communities were saddened to miss gatherings for Passover and Easter, we are also saddened for not being able to gather as a community for Ramadan.”
The Islamic centers will remain closed so no Iftar, breaking fast at sunset, or congregational prayers will happen at the facilities, according to the news release. However, the community will continue to live stream the Jumuah Friday prayers online and during Ramadan, live stream the nightly prayers starting April 23.
“We plan to issue another statement regarding Eid towards the end of Ramadan,” the statement noted.
Previously, the Muslim community decided to close all the mosques, congregational prayers, suspend Halaqas, meetings, and other activities starting March 27 until further notice. The Hampton Roads Community Insider Facebook page started live streaming Friday night prayers and provided community updates as well.
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