Muslim communities struggle to prepare for Ramadan during COVID-19 crisis

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Many families are feeling the pressure to keep food on their table during this pandemic. Muslims around the world and in central Ohio are no different but they’re about to begin fasting for Ramadan.

From April 23 to May 23, Muslims like Adbi Mohamed will be observing Ramadan, a month dedicated to fasting, prayer, reflection, and community.

“This is the first Ramadan where people won’t be able to gather,” Mohamed said. “We won’t be able to do some of the normal things we did in the previous Ramadan.”

Since most mosques are closed while trying to prevent the spread of the coronaviurs, state orders will test their faith. The fear is some Muslims who are less fortunate won’t be able to properly practice for the entire month because mosques and other centers usually host nightly events where they pray and serve food to make sure everyone ate enough to last them throughout the day.

“Those meals, they really come through for you,” said Mohamed. “12 hours of eating nothing, no water, no food, they get really, really hard.”

That’s not all Muslims have to worry about.

“I cannot find rice and flour and sugar in bulk,” said Zerqa Adbi with My Project USA.

For the last five years, My Project USA has provided hot meals and food from their pantry to help families get through this sacred month.

“The community we work in, Wedgewood and you know other surrounding neighborhoods, there is already so many challenges with the small apartments they live in,” Adbi said. “We have tried to give them all the supplies in their homes so far. I don’t know if I can continue it if I do not get bulk supplies of rice, flour, sugar, dates and other things that we need to provide them in their homes.”

Because of the social distancing guidelines and state orders cracking down on large gatherings, some Muslims may be forced to forgo their faith.

“[Ramadan] is a mandatory requirement being Muslim,” Adbi said. “Ramadan is a lot of activities of spirituality. It’s all missing this year and then on top of that, if we do not have food at home for these people, it’s going to be a huge impact emotionally, physically, financially and I’m very worried about it.”

My Project USA is working to secure food to help Muslims who may need it during this month while under COVID-19 restrictions.  If you are able to or want to help, you can email info@myprojectusa.org or call 614-905-0977.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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