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Faith groups thanked for showing solidarity during pandemic

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Community leaders have thanked people of all faiths for the solidarity shown by groups in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Religious festivals such as Ramadan, Easter, Passover, Vaisakhi and Rama Navami have been observed in different ways this year due to government restrictions during this time of Covid-19. Faith leaders have worked with their communities to help ensure religious festivals can be celebrated in a way which is safe for everyone, compliant with government restrictions, and, maintains the integrity of the faiths.

People have been urged to use social media and video chats instead of meeting up – with that message continuing into this weekend with Eid, a Muslim festival to celebrate the month-long period of fasting for Ramadan.

It is traditionally a time to visit friends and family and to exchange gifts.

Councillor David Stanley, the Mayor of Dudley, said:

We appreciate there have been significant pressures placed upon faith communities as a result of social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It has been challenging for all faith groups – and particularly for the older and more vulnerable who may not have access to social media or the internet.
In light of that, I would like to personally thank everyone for following the guidelines and know that our Muslim friends will continue that this weekend with the celebration of Eid.

The Rt Revd Martin Gorick, the Bishop of Dudley, said:

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on faith groups is unprecedented.
Places of worship have been closed to congregations, religious services have moved online and we have not been able to hold baptisms, weddings and funerals in church or special services for Easter, VE Day and the like.
Coming out of lockdown will also be challenging as we look to gradually reopen buildings in ways that are as safe as possible and in line with government guidance. As Bishop of Dudley I am proud of how Christian, Muslim and all other faith groups have worked together to follow safety guidance, protect the vulnerable and save lives.

Imam Ijaz Ahmad Shaami, of Netherton Islamic Trust in Dudley, said:

The current coronavirus pandemic has been described as the greatest challenge of this generation. Covid-19 has affected every faith community, be it through the loss of loved ones, family members falling ill and those who are struggling with isolation, loss of income or not able to visit places of worship.
I encourage individuals from all faith communities to carry on adhering to the recommendations set out by the government. I congratulate all faith leaders in acting for the greater good of humanity.
I call on all people, during these difficult times, to live in hope; that the threat we all face can be overcome, and that we will emerge stronger, more resilient and wiser from the experience.
Lastly as Imam of Dudley I wish all The Muslim community a very Happy Eid Mubarak.

Sally Bourner, Chief Superintendent, Dudley Neighbourhood Policing Unit Commander, said:

I would like to thank faith leaders and our communities for the creative ways in which they are observing religious festivals during these challenging and unprecedented times for everyone.
Communities have found new ways to maintain the integrity of their faiths in a way that is safe for everyone and compliant with government restrictions.
Whilst people cannot gather together in person, the continued patience shown and compliance with government restrictions reflects a strong and enduring spirit of unity across our communities.

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