Muslims in Italy are commemorating Ramadan as a “Ramadan of renewal and liberation” in their first post-pandemic holy month.
Around the country, mosques and Islamic centers are holding prayers and meetings, as well as distributing food and relief to those in need.
“This is a moment for engagement and sharing,” says the narrator. Fasting causes me to be more involved with others, especially those in need,” Monia Ali, a professor at the University of Brescia near Milan, told Arab News.
“This is a Ramadan of regeneration, of liberation,” Raisa Labaran, a young worker at an Islamic center in Brescia, remarked. Even if the coronavirus is still present and we must exercise caution while distancing ourselves, this year we may experience the genuine meaning of the month, which is solidarity and community.”
“Wishes for a Ramadan of serenity and peace to the entire Muslim community in Italy and around the world,” the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Many city governments and Roman Catholic bishops across the country greeted local Muslim communities with Ramadan greetings.
On April 1, the Italian government relaxed emergency measures, allowing Muslims to pray in mosques. “However, given the virus is still circulating,” Labaran said, “we will attempt to respect the safety procedures.”
The northern Lombardy region of Italy was one of the first areas in Europe to be hit by the wave of illnesses.
Representatives of the 30,000 Muslims who live in Vicenza, an industrial city near Venice, met with local authorities and detailed Ramadan activities.
The president of the Ettawba Cultural Center, Abderahim Rom, told a local newspaper, “We will always be wearing a mask.”
Ramadan will be a time to support those in need in southern Italy, where the economic downturn following the pandemic has been severe.
Caritas, a Roman Catholic humanitarian group, provided food and assistance to destitute Muslims in Catania, Sicily’s second-largest city, which has been hit severely by unemployment as a result of the closure of many industrial facilities.
“At such a crucial time, we want to provide a concrete symbol of fraternity to our Muslim colleagues,” Don Piero Galvano, head of Caritas in Catania, told Arab News.
Food distribution will take place at the city’s mosque every night during Ramadan, and will be handled by Catholic and Muslim volunteers.
Caritas’ “gesture represents the value of our friendship and brotherhood, and is more than welcome in the interest of peaceful coexistence and creative conversation,” said Kheit Abdelhafid, the mosque’s imam.