Local Muslims find safe ways to come together for Ramadan
Last year at this time, members of the Windsor Mosque were unable to come together for prayers or as a community to celebrate Ramadan due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
As the holy month of Ramadan begins this year, there is at least some opportunity to gather, but with many health safety restrictions in place.
“Last year, with the pandemic being new, we were closed,” said Zaid Khan, the mosque's interim communications spokesman. “There was no talk at that time of social distancing or anything like that, so the mosque was not open at all.
“It sent a chill through a lot of people. It was truly heartbreaking, especially for Ramadan when we are so used to congregating and coming together to help the less fortunate. Families were separated and could not even visit one another for Ramadan activities.”
This year, the mosque is open, but on a very limited basis for prayers. Prior to the Ford government's latest restrictions announced late Friday afternoon, capacity had been limited to 15 per cent.
“We have done our best to expand the number of prayers (sessions),” Khan said. “Typically, there are two Friday prayers, but this year there are four. We have spaced them out throughout the day so that we can disinfect and clean in between.”
Normally, a prayer session would last half an hour to 45 minutes, but that has been shortened to about 20 minutes to allow people to get in and out of the mosque safely, he said.
“For most of the community, they are very understanding,” Khan said.
“People by now are used to wearing masks and social distancing during prayers. Everyone use to be shoulder to shoulder, but now the community is used to everything.”
He expected anywhere between 200 to 300 of the faithful to come through the mosque for the four prayer sessions on Friday.
“Ramadan is definitely a very special time of year where everyone strengthens their relationship with God, gets involved in activities to improve ourselves and help others.
“It is a special time to make a connection with loved ones.
“Nobody is expecting this year to be normal, so it's important to focus on the positives.
“We are doing our best to try and find ways to come together safely to celebrate this blessed month of ours.”
Typically, there are two Friday prayers, but this year there are four. We have spaced them out throughout the day.