As Muslim faithfuls all around the world begins their annual 30 days fasting known as Ramadan, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock thanked British Muslims for their service and ‘sacrifice’ in foregoing communal events during Ramadan because of the coronavirus lockdown.
Communal prayers and Iftar, a meal eaten after sunset to break the daylight fast, are key parts of the holy month, which starts today.
But mosques, along with churches and synagogues, have been closed down and worshippers told not to congregate as the pandemic continues to affect communities across the country.
Addressing the nation at the daily news conference tonight the Health Secretary acknowledged the hardship this will put on the faithful.
‘This Ramadan, many Muslims who serve their country in the NHS and in the Armed Forces and in so many other ways, will not be sharing the joy of this month as they normally do,’ he said.
‘I want to say to all British Muslims: thank you for staying at home.
‘I know how important the daily Iftar is, how important communal prayers are at night and how important the Eid festival is.
‘Thank you for making major changes to these vital parts of your practice and I want to say to you all: Ramadan Mubarak and thank you for your service and citizenship, and thank you for your sacrifice.’
During Ramadan adult Muslims fast during daylight hours and reflect,while visiting mosques in large numbers.
It ends with the festival of Eid al-Fitr on May 23 and 24.
However, Mr Hancock also appeared to play down the changes of the lockdown being lifted soon.
Despite unveiling plans for a massive increase in testing, he added that the lockdown ‘will help so we can together emerge from this challenge all the more united, all the more grateful towards one another and all the more safe’.
‘We have travelled together too far to go backwards now,’ he added.