Celebrities urge Muslims to celebrate Eid at home

Great British Bake-Off winner Nadiya Hussain and Citizen Khan creator Adil Ray have urged Muslims celebrating Eid this weekend to follow the guidance on social distancing.

The religious festival marking the end of Ramadan is normally a time when families and friends get together but this year due to coronavirus people are being reminded not to gather.

In a video shared online and featuring others including former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq and comic Abdullah Afzal, Muslims are encouraged to stay at home, celebrate with families online and not to gather in large groups at mosques or in parks to pray.

Hussain says this “could not be a better time to put others first”, while Huq tells viewers: “By following the guidance we are helping to protect not just ourselves but also our families.”

At Thursday’s Downing Street press conference, a member of the public asked about advice for those preparing to celebrate this weekend.

Mehwish from Coventry asked: “With the BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) coronavirus death rate being relatively high, will you be advising the Muslim community to stay at home or stay alert during the upcoming three-day celebration of Eid?

“If not, what is your advice for them? As a member I am concerned that some people may be finding ways to flout the rules like having garden parties or gatherings.”

Analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found black men and women are more than four times more likely to suffer a coronavirus-related death than white people.

People of Bangladeshi and Pakistani, Indian and mixed ethnicity also had an increased risk of death involving Covid-19 compared with those of white ethnicity, the ONS found.

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said religious celebrations for all faiths will have to continue to be adapted to meet social distancing rules.

He said: “The clear answer for all faiths is people will have to adapt the celebrations, the joyful celebrations, around current social distancing rules.

“And everybody knows what those rules are and they remain the same for every community.

“And the reason we must all do that is, this is to protect the whole community, all communities and all of us must find ways around this, of whatever faith.”

He added: “I know that all Muslim colleagues and friends of mine are adapting as every other faith has adapted over this period … to make sure they can maintain both the celebration but also maintain the social distancing, which is absolutely critical to keeping the R below one, and the transmission rates going down across the whole of the UK.”

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