COVID-19: Muslims in Houston urged to avoid going mosques, do Ramzan prayers via video conferencing

By Seema Hakhu Kachru

Houston, Apr 25 () With social distancing in place due to the deadly coronavirus, Muslims leaders here have urged over 250,000 community members to avoid going to the mosques and do Ramzan prayers via video conferencing.

Ramzan is the holiest month in Islam, when devout Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. It began on Friday here and this time Muslims around the world will be observing Ramzan amid a devastating COVID19 pandemic.

"We are doing everything possible to serve the Muslim community during this difficult time, but also to serve our fellow Americans," Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH) president Sohail Syed told . Advertisement

"We are obligated by our religion to follow the local law," Syed explained.

With local law restricting public gatherings, the city's mosques were closed on March 17. More than a month later, Ramzan will have to be observed without in-person worship.

Instead, the ISGH is helping Muslims connect through Facebook. Daily readings of the Quran will be conducted via online video conferences through the Zoom app.

"I pray and I ask everyone to pray for God to forgive our sins and save human lives, and let us not go through this difficult time again," Syed said.

The ISGH will also be helping the Houston community by donating 1,400 boxes of groceries to those in need.Muslims around the world will observe the holy month of Ramzan under lockdown and tight restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak that has paralysed the entire world.Advertisement

The COVID-19 has so far infected more than 2.7 million people and killed over 190,000. The US is the worst hit with over 51,000 deaths and more than 905,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Because of the pandemic, which has spread to 185 nations, many countries this year have advised citizens to avoid large gatherings and have suhoor and iftar individually or with family at home.

During Ramzan, Muslims wake up early to eat a pre-dawn meal called suhoor, and break their fast after sunset with a meal called iftar.Congregational prayers are banned in several countries, and many mosques have been temporarily closed. SHK AMS AKJ AMS

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