Egypt to ban religious gatherings in Ramadan over coronavirus fears

Egypt to ban religious gatherings in Ramadan over coronavirus fears
The Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments says that mass fast-breaking meals and public gatherings will be banned in Ramadan, which is usually a time of social activity
2 min read
08 April, 2020
Ramadan in Egypt is usually a time of social activity and congregational prayer [Getty]

The Egyptian government is to ban any public religious gatherings during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Ministry of Islamic Endowments said in a statement that the ban would include any public iftars (fast-breaking meals) and social activities.

Egypt has a time-honoured tradition of holding mass iftars for poor people during Ramadan. The ministry also said the ban would also apply to itikaf – a practice where Muslims spend the last 10 days of the fasting month in a mosque to pray and meditate.

Read also: Cut! Coronavirus pegs back Ramadan soaps

There have been over 1,300 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Egypt, in a total population of roughly 100 million, and more than 80 deaths, according to a tally kept by Reuters.

Ramadan is likely to begin on April 23 this year, but this has to be confirmed by the sighting of the moon.

The month is usually a highly sociable time in Egypt. Muslims break the fast together with their families at sunset, go to the mosque for nightly congregational taraweeh prayers, and visit friends and relatives. However coronavirus is likely to interfere with all these activities.

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