The Eid el-Fitr celebration is overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic

Most Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Fitr on Sunday, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. But this year, the party is overshadowed by containment measures to prevent the Covid-19 pandemic.

Eid el-Fitr is one of the most important moments in the Muslim calendar. Millions of believers celebrate Sunday, May 24, the celebration marking the end of the fixed month of Ramadan. But this year, the celebration has to contend with the Covid-19 pandemic. From Egypt to Iraq, via Turkey and Syria, several countries have banned collective prayers.

Saudi Arabia, home to the holiest places in Islam, has introduced a full five-day curfew from Saturday. The most affected country in the Gulf has seen the number of infections more than quadruple since Ramadan began, reaching some 68,000 cases. Eid prayers will be held in the two mosques in the holy cities of La Mecca and Medina “without the believers,” the authorities announced.

Give up or resist religious pressure

Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam, will not be reopened to worshipers until after Eid, its governing body said.

In Lebanon, the highest Sunni religious authority has announced the resumption of mosques for Friday prayers only. However, believers will be subject to various health checks, including a temperature measurement.

In Asia, Muslims rushed to the markets to shop before the party, in violation of the social distance imposed by the authorities and sometimes defying the police’s attempts to disperse the crowd.

Pakistan, which has resorted to religious pressure by allowing prayers in the mosque during Ramadan, has not yet announced a decision on Eid meetings.

In Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, some are turning to smugglers and fake certificates to circumvent the travel ban in other regions of the archipelago and join their relatives, according to the large annual migration at the end of Ramadan.

Fear of a new peak of contamination

The number of deaths from Covid-19 in the Middle East and Asia has been lower than in Europe and the US, but it is steadily increasing.

Iran, which has experienced the deadliest epidemic in the Middle East, has asked its citizens to avoid traveling under Eid, which is scheduled to take place in this mainly Shia country on Monday. “Our biggest concern” is to have “new peaks of the disease due to non-compliance with health rules”, warned Iranian Health Minister Said Namaki.

The United Arab Emirates also tightened its confinement, with a night curfew beginning at 8pm instead of 10am during Ramadan. But it has not stopped locals from planning trips to luxury hotels on the beach in Dubai, Ajman or Ras Al-Khaimah.

“The remote comedy night Eid”

40 Promising Laughs in Grim Times 40 Muslim comedians from around the world will host a virtual show called “The Socially Distant Eid Comedy Night”.

“This Ramadan was particularly difficult,” said Muddassar Ahmed, head of the Concordia Forum, the organizer of the event. “We are proud to bring together some of the brightest Muslim comedic talents to entertain those who celebrate Eid at home,” he said.

With AFP