Let’s see if authorities enforce the social-distancing orders for mosques during Ramadan (April 23-May 23) like they did churches during Easter
— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) April 15, 2020
But Muslim-Americans are also approaching Ramadan thoughtfully…
Muslims are also lucky that Ramadan follows Easter and Passover. They can get inspired by how others are making their holidays special. Virtual Easter egg hunts? Virtual Passover family meals? I think by the end of this pandemic, we will have seen it all.
Will it be easy? Not at all.
But different is not bad. It pushes us to test our limits and capabilities and adapt to new ways of living.
If we all do our part, I do believe we will emerge stronger in our faith and sense of community than ever before. Eventually we will resume our lives of shared communal experiences.
In the interim, look for the silver lining. It is there.
…Even if things are not so calm and thoughtful in other more Muslim countries:
There have been disastrously naive reactions to the pandemic. One of the most dramatic cases was that of the Tablighi Jamaat, an India-based Sunni missionary movement with as many as 80 million members around the world. Despite all the warnings, they held huge dayslong gatherings, first in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and then in New Delhi, soon proving to be a “super-spreader” of the virus in South and Southeast Asia. (The incident led some Hindu nationalists to spew religious hatred and blame Muslims for a #coronajihad, which became a trending hashtag on Twitter. But it was not a malicious conspiracy—just like the case of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus of South Korea, which also acted as super spreader, it was simply catastrophic carelessness.)
In the mainstream Sunni and Shiite world, rational precautions have been taken by most governments, but often belatedly, and despite resistance from the most dogmatic believers. In Iran, one of the worst-affected countries, when authorities finally banned people from Shiite shrines, angry crowds stormed them. In Pakistan, where most clerics refused to limit mosque gatherings, police officers who tried to disperse crowds from Friday prayers were stoned by furious worshippers.