California’s Muslims persist during Ramadan despite COVID-19 pandemic

Food is distributed to those in need outside of a mosque and cultural center in the United States during Ramadan on April 24, 2020 in New York City. (AFP)
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Updated 26 April 2020

California’s Muslims persist during Ramadan despite COVID-19 pandemic

  • In the spirit of Ramadan, the mosque is accepting donations that will benefit programs that have been providing meals and groceries to those in need since day one of the pandemic

CALIFORNIA: In order to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during the holy month of Ramadan, the only people who will have access to mosques will be imams. But for the many Muslims in California, worship will still be accessible via online prayer services.
“There will be a daily program around Isha time where people can hear the adhan of Isha online,” said Saad Elarkandegwy, imam and director of the Islamic Center of San Diego East County.
“There will be a daily short talk, a daily prayer, where people can say ‘aameen’ and connect with the imam and each other online. And after that, we will also encourage the community members as families to go ahead and pray Taraweeh prayers on their own.”

 


The idea is to help the Muslim community throughout the state keep both their spiritual practices and connections to one another strong and thriving, despite being confined to their homes.
“This coming Ramadan is going to be totally different. So the mosque will be still closed,” said Imam Taha Hassan. “There will be no community iftar. There will be no Taraweeh prayer. There will be no Qur’an competition as there usually is. It’s going to be very hard for people in our community to adapt to accept the situation, but at the same time we are trying to replace this program with a virtual one.”
In the spirit of Ramadan, the mosque is accepting donations that will benefit programs that have been providing meals and groceries to those in need since day one of the pandemic.
“As Muslims, our duty is to extend our hands and help everyone, especially at this moment,” Hassan continued. “And we will keep doing this as long as we receive donations from the community members we will keep serving people as long as we can.”

 


Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

Updated 44 min 11 sec ago

Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

MANILA: Virgilio Estuesta has picked through trash in the Philippines’ biggest city for four decades, and is noticing an unusually large amount of plastics during his daily trawl of about 15 km (9.3 miles).
Tough curbs re-imposed to combat a surge in daily coronavirus infections are squeezing income for the 60-year-old, as many of the junkyards and businesses in Manila that buy his recyclables have been closed since March.
Plastic items, such as bottles and containers, dominate the contents of the rickety wooden cart Estuesta pushes through the deserted streets, far more than metals and cardboard, yet the money they bring in is not enough to get by.
“It’s been really hard for us, it’s been difficult looking for recyclables that sell high,” he said.
“Recently we’ve been seeing a lot more plastics, but the problem is they don’t really sell high.”
Environmentalists say the Philippines is battling one of the world’s biggest problems stemming from single-use plastics, and ranks among the biggest contributors to plastic pollution of the oceans. It has no reliable data for its plastics consumption.
Greenpeace campaigner Marian Ledesma said consumers and businesses are now using yet more single-use plastics, in a bid to ward off virus infections.
“The pandemic has really increased plastic pollution,” she added. “Just because there’s a lot more people using disposables now, due to misconceptions and fears around transmitting the virus.”
Since March 16, Manila has experienced lockdowns of varying levels of severity, in some of the world’s longest and tightest measures to curb the spread of the virus.
They are taking a toll on Estuesta, who hopes to start earning soon.
“When you go out, the police will reprimand you,” he said. “I was stuck at home and had to rely on government aid, which was not enough. I had to resort to borrowing money from people.”