In shadow of coronavirus, Muslims face a Ramadan like never before



ALGIERS/CAIRO/JAKARTA, April 20 ------ Days before the holy fasting month of Ramadan begins, the Islamic world is grappling with an untimely paradox of the new coronavirus pandemic: enforced separation at a time when socializing is almost sacred. The holiest month in the Islamic calendar is one of family and togetherness – community, reflection, charity and prayer. But with shuttered mosques, coronavirus curfews and bans on mass prayers from Senegal to Southeast Asia, some 1.8 billion Muslims are facing a Ramadan like never before. Across the Muslim world the pandemic has generated new levels of anxiety ahead of the holy fasting month, which begins on around Thursday. In Algiers, Yamine Hermache, 67, usually receives relatives and neighbors at her home for tea and cold drinks during the month that Muslims fast from dusk till dawn. But this year she fears it will be different. “We may not visit them, and they will not come,” she said, weeping. “The coronavirus has made everyone afraid, even of distinguished guests.” In a country where mosques have been closed, her husband Mohamed Djemoudi, 73, worries about something else. “I cannot imagine Ramadan without Tarawih,” he said, referring to additional prayers performed at mosques after iftar, the evening meal in which Muslims break their fast. Source: reuters.com