Lancashire residents urged to pray at home during religious festivals

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The Lancashire Resilience Forum has urged Lancashire's Muslim residents to stay at home to pray ahead of the holy month of Ramadan which starts next week.

The forum said it is working closely with representatives of all faith groups across Lancashire to communicate a range of issues around faith, religion and culture during the coronavirus pandemic.

The holy month of Ramadam takes place from Thursday, 23 April and ends in the evening of Saturday, 23 May and Muslim residents are being asked not to visit mosques but to continue to stay at home and pray.

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Neil Shaw, Chair of Lancashire Resilience Forum’s Faith group said: “We are consulting with all faith groups. We understand that during Ramadan, many Muslims take advantage of this month by engaging in prayers and spending more time at their local mosque.

Muslims are being urged to pray at home during RamadanMuslims are being urged to pray at home during Ramadan
Muslims are being urged to pray at home during Ramadan | jpimedia

"This Ramadan will be different and to help communities fulfil their faith obligations we would encourage that although national physical distancing measures are in place that communities stay socially connected through non-physical contact such as phone, social media and video.

“We know that this is a very difficult time for everyone, but please continue to stay safe and pray at home especially during Ramadan and adhere to the Government guidelines around social distancing, which we know saves lives.”

Most Imams are already delivering speeches on a daily basis through their public address systems and the forum said that they may want to continue to use this platform to 'deliver the key messages and spiritual guidance to the community.'

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Rafiq Sufi, Chair of Lancashire Council of Mosques said: “Everyone has a duty to follow the Government’s request to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. I urge residents to follow the instruction and avoid getting together with people outside of their immediate household to partake in Iftaar meals or Taraweeh when Ramadan starts end of next week.”

Other festivals which will be affected by government guidelines to stay at home, include the upcoming Pagan Festival, Beltane, on May 1. The Pagan Federation will be running an online Beltane festival on Facebook.com/paganfederation

May 21, Ascension Day and May 31, Pentecost Sunday, are also key dates within the Christian community when traditionally there is a tradition of walks and outdoor services.

The Preston Nagar Kirtan scheduled for May 17 has been cancelled by the Sikh community.

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Neil Shaw added: “We thank the local communities for abiding to what is difficult to sacrifice, as these worships are core to people’s faith. We appreciate these are difficult times and we need the whole community to co-operate and trust the process to be balanced and respectful of the broad needs of the community.”