Department of Public Safety sent a letter to Minnesota’s Imam and Muslim leaders stating:
Minnesota’s Muslim Imams and Leaders, The month of Ramadan in the Islamic calendar is marked by social and religious gatherings where Muslim families and friends unite to break their fast together, at sunset during Iftar or before dawn during Suhour. Many Muslims increase their attendance at mosques during the month and congregate for longer prayers, especially at night. This year Ramadan falls starts on April 24 and ends on May 23. It is followed by the Eid al-Fitr festival on May 24. After consulting with Imams from across Minnesota, we strongly recommend that Mosques cancel all social and religious gatherings in the interest of public health and safety. Our recommendations are based on CDC and WHO guidance.
These decisions should be part of a comprehensive approach taken by the Imams who are working together with the State as we all respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the same approach that we took when we recommended that churches and synagogues not host congregate services during Easter and Passover. When canceling social and religious gatherings, we encourage virtual alternatives when possible, using platforms such as television, radio, digital, and social media instead. As we know that the breaking of the Fast is an important part of the daily practice, we have asked Mosques to facilitate Iftar “to-go” meals that can be picked up and be shared at home with family. Since there is currently no cure for COVID-19, our only defense is social distancing:
• Practice physical distancing by strictly maintaining a distance of at least 2 meters (6 feet) between people at all times.
• Use culturally and religiously sanctioned greetings that avoid physical contact, such as waving, nodding, or placing the hand over the heart.
Wash hands regularly.
Wear face coverings.
Avoid leaving your home if you are in a high-risk group.
We are encouraging you to reach out to your local law enforcement departments to discuss threats and security issues if you have them and the MN BCA is also a resource that is ready to help as needed. Many Mosques have contracted with local law enforcement to provide additional traffic and uniform patrol or presence during this time. The time to build a strong relationship is before there is a crisis. We hope all of our Muslim Minnesotans have a safe and healthy Ramadan. Ramadan Kareem. (Have a blessed Ramadan) John Harrington Department of Public Safety Commissioner