As the Muslim faith begins Ramadan celebrations on April 23 – the same day as England’s national saint, St. George – fears have circulated over the possibility of Mosques never being able to reopen following the global coronavirus pandemic, which has forced all houses of worship to close down in adherence with social distancing rules to minimize the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
According to Sky News, the Muslim Council of Britain suggested that Mosques will be particularly affected due to the closures as they are publicly funded when they are in use.
Speaking with Sky News, Harun Khan, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “Mosques will be hit very substantially. Majority of the mosques are run as charitable organisations. They rely heavily on the support they get from visitors and worshipers.
“That’s almost disappeared overnight. They are institutions that need to maintain themselves with staff that need to be paid. It’s a really, really challenging time. It will be a Ramadan like never before.”
Social distancing rules will further dampen the Ramadan celebrations as congregations of large groups will be kept to a minimum.
Christians around the world faced reprimand for flouting social distancing guidelines in an effort to attend some form of makeshift mass within lockdown.
Ramadan falling on St. George’s Day pried open a debate on England’s patron saint being “Turkish”–belonging to a Muslim country. However, St. George was Greek Cappadocian–from a part of modern-day Turkey which was overtaken by Seljuk Turks nearly eight centuries after the death of the saint.
Due to the lockdown, Britain’s 2,000 mosques serving almost 3 million Muslims will take on a virtual form mirroring Easter services for Christians under lockdown.
Muslim spokespersons told Sky News that they had never seen their homes of worship so abandoned at any time.
Plenty of footage has circulated social media showing the United Kingdom’s police forces cracking down on those who fail to observe social distancing–even when the suspect is in the clear.
A disgraced police officer was filmed threatening to arrest a man on trumped up charges for his perceived defiance of the officer’s wishes. The officer threatened to “make something up.”
Another disturbing clip showed police breaking down a man’s apartment door for having the TV on too loud. The officers who entered the apartment were not wearing any protective gear as they searched the premises.
Enforcing current rules to prevent further spread of infection has assumed what some have dubbed a “draconian” form, with many voicing concerns surrounding government overreach.