Muslims worldwide observed the first day of Ramadan on Friday. The holy month is marked by 30 days of fasting from sunrise to sunset, and traditionally highlighted by communal meals and daily congregational prayers. But how is it possible to eat and pray together safely amid lockdown measures?
Well, it's really not. Although some mosques around the globe are still open, many have closed their doors to contain the spread of COVID-19, and stay-at-home orders are forcing many Muslims to observe virtually.
In the U.S., some Muslim leaders are posting their lessons and sermons online. And in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, city officials are allowing the call to prayer to be broadcast to residents, the majority of which are from east African countries.
Others, meanwhile, are organizing charity drives to accommodate people who might rely on their local mosque for meals and services. Imam Khalid Latif of the Islamic Center at New York University told NPR on Thursday that those efforts are especially important for people who are alone or living in an abusive situation.
He said, "That to me becomes a concern because the entire premise of our community is that we seek to build it in a way where nobody has to feel as if they're by themselves or they have to go through anything on their own."
For Muslims elsewhere, though, the lockdown caused by COVID-19 has made observance of the month more challenging. In the blockaded Gaza Strip, for example, one man told Al Jazeera English: "The good people who give us money or aid each Ramadan are facing a tough situation. This is the hardest Ramadan we have faced. We don't know how we will cope."
Contains footage from CNN.