Matt Hancock urges Muslim community to respect lockdown during Eid

21 May 2020, 19:28

Health Secretary Matt Hancock thanked the Muslim community for respecting social distancing rules through Ramadan
Health Secretary Matt Hancock thanked the Muslim community for respecting social distancing rules through Ramadan. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

Matt Hancock has thanked Muslims for following social distancing during Ramadan, and asked the community to "respect the lockdown" during upcoming Eid celebrations.

Eid usually marks a time for the Muslim community to come together and celebrate with extended family and friends and communal visits to Mosques.

But due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mosques and other places of worship have been closed for the past nine weeks, and people have been asked to distance themselves within their own households to control any further outbreak of the virus.

Addressing the Government's daily press briefing, the Health Secretary said he appreciated people will not be able to celebrate Eid this weekend as they usually would and Professor Whitty added that it is important to adapt to the measures, "no matter what faith".

The Health Secretary was asked by a member of the press whether the Government would be asking the Muslim community to stay alert during the upcoming three-day celebration of Eid.

Mr Hancock replied: "Firstly I would like to thank those during Ramadan who have followed the social distancing rules.

"I know that Eid is coming up and appreciate most people won't be able to celebrate as they usually would because of social distancing - and it is usually a time when people come together.

"I hope people can enjoy Eid celebrations but I know they will be different from usual."

Prof Whitty added: "The clear answer for all faiths is that people will have to adapt these celebrations around the current social distancing rules.

"Everybody knows what those rules are and they remain the same for every community."

The Muslim Council of Britain has suggested people could celebrate Eid with family and friends using technology, such as video chats.

Miqdaad Versi, head of public affairs at the MCB said there is a "real sadness" people will not be able to celebrate Eid with their family and friends.

"Normally Muslims will be at the mosque, mosques will be thronging with people from the morning and households will not be just be [full] of individuals, but families, extended families and friends all coming together," he said.

"So from a religious perspective, that's really difficult.

"Every single year people get dressed up and go to the mosque and take part in this really important, obligatory for some, part of the faith. And that just won't be possible."

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify