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Belfast's Muslims fast at home during the holy month of Ramadan as mosque remains closed


Belfast Islamic Centre in Wellington Park

Belfast Islamic Centre in Wellington Park

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Belfast Islamic Centre in Wellington Park

Members of Belfast's Muslim community have said the city's mosque will stay closed in line with government guidelines.

Like other religions, Belfast's Islamic Centre has suspended all prayers and activities until further notice due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which means no congregational daily prayers, a particular challenge during this holy month of Ramadan.

Muslims normally fast during daylight hours and come together for prayer and reflection in mosques during Ramadan.

Naomi Green of the Belfast Islamic Centre in Wellington Park in the south of the city said: "Of course we wish we could open for taraweeh prayers but our responsibility is community safety which means unfortunately our mosque remains closed.

"This decision was not taken lightly and was based on the Islamic principle that 'aversion of harm takes priority over acquisition of benefit'.

"Instead we are encouraging people to pray at home and are offering online talks as well as delivering food to more vulnerable members of our community, which is all being done in a socially responsible way.

"Unfortunately if we were to open it would be all of the elderly people who would come.

"As they are the most vulnerable, that is the danger and I feel it could be a disaster."

She said the centre will remain closed until there is guidance that it may reopen.

Belfast Telegraph