The COVID-19 outbreak will pose challenges to the communal practices of Muslims in Singapore during Ramadan, particularly in light of the extended circuit breaker, said President Halimah Yacob.
“This year, we will be doing away with the usual practice of buka puasa with friends and extended families as we observe the COVID-19 circuit breaker measures, which have been extended for another month.
“We will also not be able to perform our tarawih prayers at the mosque or enjoy the warmth of the collective Hari Raya Puasa prayers but these are exceptional times requiring us to take really difficult measures,” said Mdm Halimah in a Facebook post today (23 April).
The pandemic, however, is also also “a testament of how the community has rallied to help the vulnerable groups”.
“Ground-up initiatives such as the #SGUNITED Buka Puasa will be providing meals not only for the vulnerable groups in the community but also the healthcare professionals and their families who have been at the frontline managing the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Mdm Halimah.
The joint initiative between Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), People’s Association (PA) and several other foundations aims to provide 15,000 free meals daily for healthcare workers, their families and those in need to break fast with this Ramadan.
The meals will be distributed at over 20 community centres and over 10 hospitals islandwide.
The MUIS-founded Rahmatan Lil Alamin Foundation, one of the partners listed in the SGUnited Buka Puasa campaign, is currently raising funds for the initiative via the Giving.sg website.
2094 donors have donated a total of S$260,709 as of 4pm today, as seen on the fundraising page.
Separately, all Ramadan bazaars organised by the PA, including the popular Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar, will not be operating this year, due to the current COVID-19 situation as well as the need to maintain social distancing in public areas.
A PA spokesman told The Straits Times on 18 March that the decision was made for “the well-being and safety of our residents” in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“This includes the annual Hari Raya Bazaars organised at Wisma Geylang Serai as well as at Our Tampines Hub and in Woodlands,” the spokesman said.
In the past years, these month-long bazaars — which sell an array of food, festive clothes and household decorations — have attracted massive crowds.
Nearly two million people visited the bazaar at Wisma Geylang Serai last year, the highest number recorded for such a bazaar, in contrast to the 1.8 million attendees in 2018.