Ramadan And Vaccines: Palm Beach County Muslim Leader Says, Even After A Year, People Are Still Adjusting
This is the first week of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. It began with fasting from dawn to dusk every day. One year after the pandemic shifted lifestyles, Muslims in Palm Beach County are still adjusting to the changes, including the COVID-19 vaccines.
The mosque is central to how Muslims come together and break the fast during Ramadan. But the familial celebrations aren’t as easy anymore.
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Sharif Elhosseiny is the President of the Islamic Center of Palm Beach. He says many Muslims have found non-traditional ways to connect, which have included “limited seatings at local mosques.”
“We have a community texting group. We have email. And there are live streaming video and audio for lectures throughout the month,” Elhosseiny said.
Ramadan, one of the one of the five pillars of Islam, ends when the sun sets on May 12. Muslims eat a pre-dawn meal called suhoor before the fast begins and ends the daily fast with a meal called Iftar.
Elhosseiny says Muslims who are sick with COVID-19 are exempt from fasting and are encouraged to give extra charity and engage in daily prayer for Ramadan.
He says Muslims in the county are still adjusting to life during the pandemic — religious observances are a way to bring solace, hope, and sense of normalcy to the small community. He also said local leaders are encouraging Muslims in the county to take the vaccine, aiming especially at the elderly.
“You depend on your lord. You depend on God, as we refer to Allah,” Elhosseiny said. “And part of the means to protect yourself is to take the vaccine."
“If one road has been closed off, you’ll find many others that are open.”