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For the second year in a row, Muslims in France will have to spend Ramadan at home. Social interactions around the sacred and festive fast that begins on Tuesday will be limited by the curfew in force each evening from 7 p.m., introduced as part of the fight against Covid-19.
Traditionally marked by family and religious gatherings at the time of breaking the fast, Ramadan 2021, which begins on Tuesday, will once again be disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. The date of April 13 was confirmed on Sunday by the Grand Mosque of Paris.
The fast of Ramadan, which will end with Eid al-Fitr, the “fast breaking festival” set for May 13 this year, is one of the five pillars of Islam. During this period, Muslims must in particular refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset.
As in 2020, this month of prayer and sharing is marked by the health context. Due to the curfew and the closing of places of worship at 7 p.m., there are no “tarawih” – those nighttime prayers specific to Ramadan – possible at the mosque.
Moreover, the religious authorities strongly advise against grouping together beyond the home or between neighbors at the time of the “iftar”, the daily meal for breaking the fast, whereas it is usually a social, convivial or even festive component of this month.
The French Council of Muslim Worship (CFCM) like the Mosque of Paris have also warned the faithful who may wonder about the legality or not of vaccination that the latter was not considered “nutritious”. Therefore, “the injection” of an anti-Covid vaccine “does not invalidate the fast”.
The Mosque of Paris has also printed a leaflet intended for the faithful pleading for vaccination: “Vaccination is an act of preserving life recommended in Islam”, we can read on the sheets.
Anti-Muslim acts in the West
This Ramadan 2021 is also marred by the discovery on Sunday of racist tags on the walls of an Islamic cultural center in Rennes.
The CFCM strongly condemns the Islamophobic inscriptions discovered this Sunday morning on the facades of the Avicenna cultural center in Rennes, supports the faithful and officials of the center and calls on Muslims in France to be vigilant. pic.twitter.com/z5il3mGtic
– CFCM (@CfcmOfficiel) April 11, 2021
“The Crusades will resume”, “Charles Martel, save us”: the inscriptions were discovered at the time of the morning prayer by the guardian and the faithful of the Avicenna center, which also serves as a prayer room.
These racist inscriptions have provoked a concert of condemnations, some denouncing an “anti-Muslim climate”. Several anti-Muslim acts have indeed been recorded in recent days in western France. In Nantes, the door of a mosque was destroyed by fire overnight from Thursday to Friday and a 24-year-old man, claiming neo-Nazi ideas, was indicted on Friday for threatening to attack the mosque in Le Mans .
The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, went to the Villejean district in Rennes on Sunday evening to meet the leaders of the Muslim faith and to express “all the disgust that these inscriptions inspire us, which are insults, insults to Muslims French, insults to France “. The minister said he had instructed the prefects to “particularly (…) protect” Muslims “during this period of religious feast”.