The Taipei Grand Mosque yesterday said its earlier decision to cancel Eid al-Fitr celebrations on Sunday to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would stand, even though there have been no new domestic cases of COVID-19 in more than a month.
It will be the first time in 60 years that the event has not be held at the mosque.
The Ministry of Labor had asked all mosques to suspend Eid al-Fitr celebrations and prayers this year, due to COVID-19 concerns, and encouraged Muslims to pray at home.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
This year Ramadan began on April 23 and is to end tomorrow. Eid al-Fitr is usually celebrated for three days and the Taipei Grand Mosque has long been the go-to location for Muslims in Taiwan.
It usually sees between 700 and 800 people praying during Eid al-Fitr, mosque director-general Wang Meng-lung (王夢龍) said.
However, the mosque would not be able to maintain the requisite social distancing indoors with that number of people, so the decision was made to cancel the celebrations, Wang said.
Praying at a mosque on Eid al-Fitr is believed to gain the follower the blessing of Allah, while providing the chance to talk to and eat with friends, Wang said.
Migrant workers often use the Taipei Railway Station as a gathering place on weekends, and Eid al-Fitr get-togethers there have been common in the past, but the Taiwan Railways Administration has banned mass gatherings in the main hall until the end of July.
Chou Hui-yee (周慧儀), a spokesperson for One-Forty, a nonprofit organization that helps Southeast Asian migrant workers, told the Central News Agency that most of the workers it contacted earlier this month said they knew that mass gatherings were prohibited due to COVID-19 and that they planned to pray at home or talk to their families by telephone or video conferencing.
Some said they would try to meet with friends, but would avoid crowds, Chou said.
The ministry said it was working with the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office in Taipei to inform migrant workers about disease prevention regulations and encourage them to observe social distancing.
The ministry on Tuesday urged migrant workers to visit locations that observe COVID-19 prevention measures and it wished Muslim workers a safe and happy Eid al-Fitr.
Additional reporting by CNA
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