VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Thousands of Muslims across B.C. are waiting to hear from the province’s top doctor on how they will be able to honour the start of the holy month of Ramadan on April 13.
Yahya Momla, the senior Imam for the BC Muslim Association, says services at 14 mosques across the province were voluntarily cancelled last April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The communal aspect is something that is a huge part of the month, so it was dearly missed last year and we’re hoping that we could return to the mosques and have some sort of congregation,” he said.
He tells @NEWS1130 "People will likely be required to register. They may not always be able to attend the service of their choosing. Although we are happy, we are a little anxious, as well."
We're expecting to hear more details next week from #BC's top doctor Bonnie Henry.
— Marcella Bernardo (@Bernardo1130) March 16, 2021
Momla notes he doesn’t expect things to look like they did pre-pandemic.
“We recognize that even if we are allowed to have in-person services, there will be logistical hurdles. People will likely be required to register. They may not always be able to attend the service of their choosing. Although we are happy, we are a little anxious, as well,” Momla said.
“We’ve been always clear and consistent in our communication with our community. Until the pandemic is over and until we have the vaccine available to as many people as the health authorities deem necessary, we won’t be returning to an absolute normal,” he added.
On Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said some outdoor religious services will soon be allowed in B.C.
“We will be providing a class variance to allow outdoor religious services in small numbers in the coming days,” Henry said, adding they are also working on a “class variance” for Passover and Easter.
She did not provide a specific date for an adjustment in the provincial health order.
“We are working on advice through the process … on how we can have a workable approach to the gradual and safe phased re-opening of ongoing indoor services for faith groups across the province for all faith services, starting in April,” she added.
We’re expecting more details from Henry in the coming days or week.