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Covid pandemic impacts Eid celebrations around the world for a second year

Since 10 May, the Irish Government has allowed in-person religious services.

People wearing face masks perform Eid al-Fitr prayers at Al-Azhar Mosque in Jakarta.
People wearing face masks perform Eid al-Fitr prayers at Al-Azhar Mosque in Jakarta.
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

MUSLIMS AROUND THE world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr in a subdued mood for a second year in a row, as mixed restrictions in different countries hamper celebrations.

As of 10 May, the Irish Government has allowed the recommencement of in-person religious services, allowing Christian and Muslim services to resume. Although intercounty travel is now allowed, international travel is still limited to essential reasons.

Last year, the first Eid al-Adha event held in Croke Park was originally due to have 500 people in attendance, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, it was limited to 200 worshippers.

In other parts of the world, the pandemic has forced mosque closures and family separations on the holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

In the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, Indonesia, its capital Jakarta allowed mosque prayers in low-risk areas, but mosques in areas where there was more risk of the virus spreading closed their doors, including Jakarta’s Istiqlal Grand Mosque, the largest in Southeast Asia.

Indonesians and Malaysians were banned for a second year from traveling to visit relatives in the traditional Eid homecoming.

“I understand that we all miss our relatives at times like this, especially in the momentum of Eid,” Indonesian president Joko Widodo said in televised remarks.

“But let’s prioritise safety together by not going back to our hometowns.”

2.59738168 Source: PA Images

In the southern Philippines, coronavirus outbreaks and new fighting between government forces and Muslim insurgents in one province prevented people from holding large public prayers.

Instead, most stayed in their homes, while in Maguindanao province many families displaced by recent fighting marked the holiday in evacuation camps.

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In Malaysia, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin unexpectedly announced another nationwide lockdown from yesterday until 7 June to curb a spike in cases.

Interstate travel and all social activities are banned, which means that like in Indonesia, Muslims cannot visit each other or family graves.

Muhyiddin acknowledged that many are angry with the lockdown but defended the need for drastic measures, saying hospitals have almost reached their capacity.

He said: “Is this government tyrannical? But I am not a tyrant.

Imagine if you have guests over, then the virus will spread … If the guest visits 10 homes, then 10 families will be infected with Covid-19 and in the end as soon as [Eid] ends, the number of positive cases in the country could jump to tens of thousands daily.

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