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Thanks from leaders ahead of Eid celebrations

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Community leaders have re-iterated their thanks to people of all faiths for the solidarity shown by groups in the continued 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 in large groups – with that message continuing into this weekend with Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice.

The second Islamic holiday of the year, it is celebrated on July 31 and is traditionally a time to visit friends and family, with the day usually starting with a congregational prayer at the mosque.

Continued use of digital technology such as Zoom and Skype, used widely during Ramadan when lockdown restrictions were in place, are still encouraged as a good way of staying in touch and celebrating safely with family and friends.

Places of worship have now re-opened following lockdown – but numbers will be restricted. Mosques have carried out risk assessments to determine how many people can take part in services to ensure social distancing can be maintained.

For those planning to celebrate at home, gatherings of more than 30 people in private homes - including gardens and other outdoor spaces - are banned. This also applies to gatherings of more than 30 in a public outdoors space, unless planned by an organisation in compliance with Covid-19 secure guidance.

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.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care at Dudley Council, said:

Huge sacrifices have been made in recent months, as communities have had to adapt how they celebrate different festivals and other important occasions.
The Muslim community have been very active and have ensured social distancing rules continue to be supported.
We want people to be able to celebrate Eid, but to do so safely to prevent the spread of the virus. Worshippers attending a service should stick to social distancing guidelines and follow any rules set out by the mosque.
Gatherings at home should not breach the guidelines, and I would encourage people to continue using Zoom, Skype and other apps to stay in touch remotely during this difficult time.
The most important thing we can do is to stay alert, control the virus, and in doing so, save lives. To all those celebrating, please stay and safe and Eid Mubarak.

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

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on faith groups is unprecedented.
Coming out of lockdown will also be challenging as we gradually reopen buildings in ways that are as safe as possible and in line with government guidance.
I wish Muslim friends and neighbours every blessing as they celebrate Eid-al Adha together. As Bishop of Dudley I am proud of how Christian, Muslim and all other faith groups have worked together to follow safety guidance, while protecting the vulnerable and saving lives.

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.
This reflects a strong and enduring spirit of unity across our communities.
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. For example, on a recent visit to the Netherton Islamic Trust I have seen at first hand the thorough and rigorous approach put in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of worshippers in line with government restrictions.
To all those celebrating, please stay and safe and Eid Mubarak.

Further information and advice from the Muslim Council of Britain can be found at www.mcb.org.uk

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