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Bay Area Muslims Find Ways To Observe Ramadan Online During COVID-19 Shelter In Place

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) - Muslims throughout the Bay Area and around the world are now observing Ramadan.

For the next month, Muslims will be praying and fasting, even though their mosques have been closed because of the shelter in place order.

"This is a Ramadan like one we have never had before," said Zahra Billoo, the Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations. "Going to the mosque every day is very much a way in which we observe Ramadan. This year all of the mosques in the area are closed, which means people are observing Ramadan at home."

Billoo says they're still be coming together, but in meetings online.

"Tonight for example, I will be breaking my first fast with friends virtually. We all got together and found out who was eating alone and we said let's all do it together with screen time," says Billoo.

Some Imams and Muslim leaders are posting their lessons and sermons online.

And some families have turned parts of their home into worship areas.

"This is my home, it's my living room, and right now were using it as a living room/prayer room," said Noshaba Afzal during a virtual interview at her home.

Afzal said despite some difficulties and not being able to be with the community, the pandemic helps refocus Muslims on the true meaning of Ramadan.

"It's a time for self-reflection and there is a lot more time during shelter in place for self-reflection, trying to be the best humans we can be, and in serving others. There is a lot more opportunity now, to serve others who are in need," Afzal said.

Ramadan will continue until Saturday, May 23rd.

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