COVID-19: Tokyo Mosque ready for bittersweet Ramadan

COVID-19: Tokyo Mosque ready for bittersweet Ramadan

Muslims to perform Tarawih night prayer during Ramadan abiding by measures taken against COVID-19 pandemic

By Ahmet Furkan Mercan

TOKYO (AA) - The Tokyo Mosque is ready for a bittersweet Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims, this year with the measures taken against the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Turkish official.

“Still, we are at a better situation in online activities compared to last year,” Muhammet Rasid Alas, social affairs consultant at the Turkish Embassy in Tokyo, told Anadolu Agency.

On the activities to be organized within the Tokyo Mosque during Ramadan, Alas said that Qur’an and short surahs from the holy book will be recited online, and prayer programs for children will be held every day during the month.

He said that participants from different Muslim countries living in Japan’s capital will be presented with online Ramadan conferences in several languages. Alas added that he will also hold talks on Qur’an on Sundays.

Alas said that cooks from different countries will also present the recipes of their cuisine two days a week to the audience online.

He said the number of COVID-19 cases has been on rise in Japan since the state of emergency was lifted in March.

“It was decided that no masjid or mosque would organize an iftar [fast-breaking meal] program in Japan. So we will not organize an iftar program, because the mask must be removed [while eating],” he said.

On Tarawih, the special night prayers during Ramadan, Alas said mask-wearing and social distancing rules will be observed and single-use prayer rugs will be provided at the mosque.

He noted that the conditions of the semi-emergency state in the city are considered while the programs are prepared.

“In the previous months of Ramadan, an average of 300-400 people met for iftar on weekdays and 500-600 on weekends [at the mosque]. Half of them were Japanese non-Muslims,” Alas said, adding they used to enjoy the excitement of the Ramadan together with Muslims.

*Writing by Sena Guler in Ankara

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