Do not let Muslims be scapegoats for coronavirus says Leeds Imam as Eid celebration guidance issued

A Leeds Imam has called on worshippers to celebrate Eid safely and warned that Muslims could be 'scapegoated as we saw during Ramadan'.
Leeds Imam Qari AsimLeeds Imam Qari Asim
Leeds Imam Qari Asim

The guidance also follows a change of national policy after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a departure from some previous restrictions being eased - such as casinos and bowling alleys remaining closed.

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Leeds Imam Qari Asim said: "Eid al-Adha is a time to honour the sacrifice, resolve and commitment to Allah Almighty demonstrated by Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). Eid al-Adha is an opportunity for prayer, forgiveness and celebration.

"I am urging people to remain safe and vigilant in their Eid-al-Adha celebrations. During this pandemic, we should all remember that small scale festivities from home can be just as enjoyable as those carried out in larger groups, and I am confident these humble gatherings will all be as blessed as grander ones usually held in our homes and mosques.

"We must make sure that everyone remains safe during this time and adheres to guidelines.

"As we saw during Ramadan, Muslims were scapegoated and we cannot let this overshadow the celebrations of Eid and the sacrifice of Hajj. We do not want to give rise to Islamophobic hateful narratives that some groups will try to propagate if social distancing guidelines are not adhered to when Eid celebrations commence.

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"I along with Imams across the country, advise people to continue to be extra cautious and respectful in their celebrations."

The guidance follows a statement from Leeds Council which also called on people to celebrate Eid 'in a safe and socially distanced way'.

A spokesman for Leeds Council said: "This Eid al-Adha will feel different, and we are asking residents to pray and celebrate in a safe and socially distanced way.

"Following the relaxing of lockdown measures, places of worship have reopened and Eid prayer is allowed in mosques where it is safe to do so, with worshippers asked to follow social distancing guidelines.

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"Celebrate Eid safely by connecting with friends and family virtually or by socialising indoors with members of one other household. Please do not hold or attend celebrations where it's difficult to maintain social distancing.

"Stay at home and isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms or if you have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

"For further guidance on what to do to perform Eid prayer safely, please contact your local mosque for advice."

-> What can you do and not do legally under the new lockdown restrictions? Full guidance explainedLeeds Bradford Airport is continuing to put on flights in and out of the airport following the restrictions being announced.

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The government said the new lockdown is "in response to an increasing trend in the number of cases per 100,000 people in the area, and data from PHE and the JBC which suggests transmission among households is a key infection pathway in the area."

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Thank you

Laura Collins