Those practicing Islam in Fort Bend County have had their holy month interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
County faith leaders tried to ensure the celebration still goes on.
Fort Bend County hosted its first countywide Virtual Iftar Dinner Pickup & Discussion Saturday night. Residents were able pick up an Iftar Dinner from six locations around the county before virtually joining with faith leaders for a Facebook Live interfaith dialogue.
During the holy month of Ramadan – which began April 23 and runs through May 23 – each year Muslims are obligated to fast every day from dawn to sunset. The Iftar is the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily fast at sunset for the evening prayer.
“This is not the way we would normally expect to have our Ramadan, but we’re all having to adjust,” said Sugar Land city councilman Naushad Kermally, who last year became the first Muslim to hold a Sugar Land city council seat. “We’re all wearing masks and socially distancing. It’s not the way we wanted it to be, but we can still celebrate and follow the guidelines set forth until things relax.”
In light of current social distancing guidelines amidst the pandemic, County Judge KP George said it is even more important for community members to remain connected with their friends, family, and faith. According to the most recent religious census in 2010, roughly 3 percent of Fort Bend County’s population practices Islam.
“This is a time to reflect on everything good that God has given to us,” George said.
In Missouri City and Meadows Place, meals were picked up from Halal 5 restaurant in Meadows Place. Those in the Sugar Land area swung by Shahi Darbar restaurant or Church’s Chicken. For those in the Richmond area wanting to pick up a meal, they were available at Doner & Gyros and Louisiana Fried Chicken. There was also an event in Katy at Katy Bakery & Biryani.
There were 100 curbside meals will be available for pickup at each location on a first come, first serve basis.
“It’s a blessing during this time of tribulation that we’re still able to stand strong for humanity,” Maryam Islamic Center Imam Mohammad Ahmad Khan said.
It’s a small part that area religious leaders believe they can play in contributing to the healing of the Fort Bend community during a trying time.
“I want to encourage people of all faiths to continue bringing hope to our community and people that are going through desperate times right now,” Sugar Creek Baptist Church pastor Cliff Cummings said. “(The pandemic) can take away a lot of things, but not our drive to make our community better and express that to all people.