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With India during a nationwide lockdown and religious gatherings banned, Islamic priests are urging Muslims to observe the weekend’s Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of Ramadan, at home with social distance.
“We cannot allow any parishes in farms and parks, as it will put people at increased risk of being infected by the virus,” Syed Shaban Bukhari, Deputy Shahi Imam or Prayer Leader of New Delhi’s famous Jama Masjid said in a video posted on Twitter.
He and other Muslim leaders urged the faithful to refrain from the usual Eid festivities, social visits and shopping and donate to charities instead. They suggest that we transmit wishes to friends and relatives over the phone. Mosques are closed.
“As the entire world is currently battling coronavirus, Eid’s good fortune is not to hug each other and not shake hands this time,” said Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, Chief Imam of All India Imam Organization. “If we want to love them, we must keep our distance. … Eid is related to life and happiness and we must give the same.”
Indian Muslims have been facing increased harassment and threats by some of the country’s Hindus, blaming Muslim missionaries for a coronavirus outbreak in New Delhi’s capital in early March.
Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only territory with a majority of Muslims, led to restrictions on the closure Friday in the Lal Chowk market area of the region’s largest city, Srinagar. Thousands of Indian troops are still wiping out Srinagar’s streets, about nine months after India’s Hindu nationalist government revoked Kashmir’s autonomy in August last year, putting local politicians under house arrest and breaking the internet.
Earlier this week, Srinagar’s old neighborhood was disturbed by a gun battle – the city’s first in two years – where a separatist rebel commander and his assistant were killed by Indian paramilitary soldiers, sparking protests against the government over the city.
In the midst of the violence, a group of university students in Kashmir collaborated with local artists to sell digital postcards for Eid. With designs shared on social media, organizers say they have raised about $ 6,000 to donate to the Srinagar Masjid Committee, which provides assistance to families whose homes were damaged in Tuesday’s strikes.
The Muslims of India begin celebrating Eid the day after priests confirm a new moon, either Saturday or Sunday evening.
“There is a depressing atmosphere in Srinagar this Eid, so we all wanted to help in some way,” says digital postcard organizer Waqar Qamri, a 22-year-old mechanical engineering student who has also researched on wealth inequality as a side project. “We thought we might raise one [a few hundred dollars], but Alhamdulillah, thanks to God, we raised all the money and we still come. We continue until we see the moon. “