This year, Ramadan begins in the evening of April 13 and ends in the evening of Wednesday, May 12.
Muslims will be fasting from food and water from sunrise to sunset. The fast is accompanied by intense prayer and personal reflection.
Unfortunately, COVID lockdowns mean community activities will be greatly curtailed or cancelled again this year. Muslims cherish praying and eating in common, and providing for those in need. Like many faith communities, they will have to use livestreaming, which at least allows for visual contact while respecting health measures, and private prayer. Muslim groups have also organized drive-through “iftars,” the meal taken after sundown, and deliver boxes to families in need.
Unfortunately, last year we saw instances of online events being “Zoombombed.” Internet broadcasts were disrupted by slurs, hate speech and pornography. These despicable acts are of the gravest concern and must be condemned by all of us, along with any and all displays of Islamophobia. Sadly, a Muslim prayer area at Toronto Pearson Airport was vandalized just a few short weeks ago.
We commend the Muslim community in Ontario for their patient and responsible adherence to COVID health measures. Foregoing important faith, community and family celebrations in person is never easy – but perhaps these sacrifices can be made in the generous and patient spirit of Ramadan.
We wish “Ramadan Mubarak” to everyone celebrating this holy month.
OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer