The first Ramadan sahur or pre-dawn meal for Muslims in Singapore began today (Apr 24).
For many Muslims around the world, it will be a different atmosphere this year due to the coronavirus and home quarantine orders.
There will also be a similar set of challenges for the Muslim community in Singapore. As mosques will remain closed, Muslims cannot congregate for Terawih – an additional ritual prayer performed every night during the holy month of Ramadan.
Another tradition that the Muslim community practises is to break fast with extended family members and friends. This is to encourage bonding and close-knit relationships with one another. Unfortunately, with the circuit breaker extension and safe distancing measures in place, these customary get-togethers cannot take place this year.
While we continue staying home due to the circuit breaker extension, let’s also be reminded to look out for our Muslim friends and essential workers. If you’re ordering food for dinner, do it earlier so that food delivery riders have ample time to break their fast. If you’re going to the supermarket, give way to Muslim shoppers during break fast hours. Showing consideration on our part will make their day a little bit easier.
Ramadan will surely be a different experience this time, especially without the annual Hari Raya Bazaar, but a particular group of Muslims in Singapore are even more affected by Covid-19.
A sizeable number of migrant workers in Singapore are from Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority country.
More than 90 per cent of cases Covid-19 reported are among migrants living in dormitories. These dormitories are now on lockdown and those who are suspected of having Covid-19 are sent for testing. Many of the confirmed cases are mild and have been moved to community isolation facilities or hospital general wards, said MOH. Healthy workers have been put in temporary safe distancing conditions at void decks and multi-storey carparks at HDB construction sites as new accommodations are being prepared.
It is a chaotic time for our migrant friends, who on top of being far away from their own families, are now in isolation.
Want to help? Here are 5 organisations you can reach out to to help migrant workers during Covid-19:
#HOMEFORALL Migrant Workers
To meet safe-distancing and sanitation measures, many dorm kitchens have been closed. Many migrant workers lack hot meals, sanitation supplies and information. #HomeForAll is an initiative by the Collective of Migrant Efforts (COME) – a cross-sector partnership that includes NGOs, government agencies and citizens. They aim to raise $800,000 to provide 20,000 migrant workers with food, hygiene and Internet access.
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Project Postcard is a youth-driven initiative that sells postcards featuring original art from 15 former students of the School of the Arts (SOTA). All proceeds from postcard sales will go to HOME (Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics), supporting the projects they do with migrant workers, which includes providing daily essentials and medical aid.
True Life of Singapore Migrant Workers (Facebook Group)
In a donation drive spearheaded by user Amy Kua, members of the Facebook group ‘True Life of Singapore Migrant Workers’ have contributed prayer mats, halal food and daily necessities to migrant workers in Kian Teck Dormitory and Jiwa Dormitory. Migrant workers also regularly interact with the group, sharing requests and thoughts, such as a yearning for Bengali food. If you wish to contribute to the drive, contact Kua on Facebook.
Migrant workers are here in Singapore to build our country and help make our lives easier. Let’s show our solidarity and stand with them in this difficult time.
Wishing all Muslims in Singapore a blessed month of Ramadan.