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Coronavirus Politics Daily: A different Ramadan, Chile issues immunity IDs, Africa lacks ventilators

Ramadan in the time of COVID-19: Many of the world's 1.8 billion Muslims begin marking the holy month of Ramadan on Thursday, but it will be a commemoration with little precedent as communities around the world have to rethink new ways of incorporating some of Islam's central traditions. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, and it's customary to gather in mosques and hold communal meals to break the fast. But given quarantine orders in countries with some of the largest Muslim populations, including Pakistan, India, and Malaysia, ensuring compliance with social distancing measures while allowing citizens to observe the holiest month on Islam's calendar, will prove challenging for many governments. In Pakistan, for example, some influential Islamic authorities have instructed Muslims to defy government orders that limit the number of people who can attend mosque services and to gather for prayers. Some Arab countries are leaning heavily on clerics to enforce guidelines. Meanwhile, in Iran, one of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19, supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei told Iranians to avoid public gatherings during Ramadan and to pray at home – hoping to prevent the chaos seen last month when some Iranian hardliners, bolstered by Shiite clerics, violently stormed shrines that were closed because of the pandemic. In Egypt, meanwhile, actors and production crews have flouted social distancing guidelines in order to produce the country's famed Ramadan soap operas, which are heavily anticipated and widely watched every year.

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Wrecked mosques, police watch: A tense Ramadan in Xinjiang

June 05, 2019 5:06 PM

HOTAN, CHINA (AFP) - The corner where Heyitkah Mosque in China's restive Xinjiang region once hummed with life is now a concrete parking lot where all traces of the tall, domed building have been erased.

Malaysian officials go undercover to spy on fasting Muslims

May 23, 2019 6:23 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysian officials are disguising themselves as cooks and waiters to catch Muslims who don't fast during Ramadan, with a rights group Thursday (May 23) blasting the "disgraceful act of spying".

Mahathir: Ramadan not just about abstaining from eating, but also resisting temptation

May 06, 2019 10:13 AM

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The month of Ramadan is not just about abstaining from eating, but resisting the temptation of wrongdoings, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Shared meals and torch-lit parades: Indonesia Muslims welcome Ramadan

May 05, 2019 4:51 PM

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AFP) - From cleaning up relatives' graves and sharing food with the poor to holding colourful torch-lit street parades, millions of Indonesians are getting ready to welcome the holy month of Ramadan in the world's populous Muslim-majority country.

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