Muslim organizations in the United States issued guidelines on Sunday for Ramazan advising against congregational prayers and community iftars, hours after President Donald Trump asked local authorities not to relax coronavirus restrictions during the month.
“I would say that there could be a difference,” Mr Trump said at a news conference.
“And we’ll have to see what will happen. Because I have seen a great disparity in this country,” he complained, echoing far-right sentiments.
But when asked if he thought Muslim religious leaders would not follow social distancing guidelines during Ramazan, Mr Trump said: “No I don’t think that at all.”
He said it was a fact that “the Christian faith (in America) is treated much differently, and I think it’s treated very unfairly”.
A few hours after Mr Trump’s press conference, the Fiqh Council of North America said in a statement: “If the current circumstances remain the same, the Fiqh Council encourages people to pray Taraweeh with their family in their homes.”
Ramazan is expected to begin in North America on April 23. Most Muslims here prefer community iftars at mosques, which are filled to capacity during Taraweeh as well. But this year, most Muslim organisations have been urging people to pray at home, maintain social distancing and follow government restrictions.
President Trump’s remarks stirred fears that the pandemic could be used to whip up anti-Muslim sentiments.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) described the comments as “divisive” and reminded him that mosques in the United States had already announced plans to avoid congregational prayers.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) recalled that Muslim scholars were already supporting the suspension of congregational prayers.
President Trump also bemoaned that some US lawmakers were too lenient to Muslims.
“They go after Christian churches, but they don’t seem to go after mosques. I do not want them to go after mosques. But I do want to see what their bent is,” he tweeted. Source: Dawn