'Ramadaan is not the same during Covid-19 lockdown'
CAPE TOWN - Muslims in North Africa say the holy month of Ramadaan is just not the same this year due to the restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.
For the first time, Ramadaan is being observed very differently by many Muslims across the world as measures put in place to curb the coronavirus pandemic deprive them of enjoying traditional Ramadaan activities.
During Ramadaan, Muslims refrain from eating and drinking during the day, and break their fast at sunset. It is also a month of reflection and community.
According to English-language daily newspaper Arab News, North Africans are saying that they miss the taste of Ramadaan.
From traditional mealtime gatherings to evening outings and visits to sweets stalls, Covid-19 lockdown regulations across North Africa have put a damper on what many Muslims in North Africa had looked forward to.
Since the lockdown regulations were imposed as early as March 20, people's movement has been limited to night-time curfews.
With mosques closed in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt as well as a prohibition on large gatherings, Muslims in North Africa will have to conduct taraweeh (evening prayers) indoors.
As authorities encourage physical distancing during a time of deep reflection, prayer and community, this could also be a very lonely time for many Muslims in North Africa.
In Algeria, the government briefly relaxed lockdown measures and reopened stores and salons, but authorities soon closed them again, saying that physical distancing and basic hygiene were not being observed.
Morocco has extended its national state of emergency by a further 30 days to May 20 to stall the spread of Covid-19.
In Egypt, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly relaxed regulations slightly for Ramadaan, shortening the night-time curfew to 9pm until 6am and allowing shops to remain open until 5pm daily, reported Egypt Today.African News Agency