Date: 22 April 2020
These are very challenging times for all of us as we work together to stop the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), and I would like to acknowledge our Muslim communities on both Christmas Island (CI) and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (CKI) who have had to make a lot of changes to their daily lives with the mosques closed and usual Friday prayers affected.
I acknowledge that for those Australians who celebrate religious festivals, including our Muslim communities who will celebrate Ramadan beginning on 23 April, the way these significant occasions are marked will be markedly different in 2020.
Due to COVID-19, Muslims around the world are being confronted with exceptional circumstances, which will require unprecedented responses and measures, including in most countries, being unable to come together to celebrate Ramadan due to required social distancing and laws preventing social gatherings from occurring.
In Australia and the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT), gatherings of more than two people, apart from those who live in the same household, are not allowed, which will affect how our Muslim communities celebrate Ramadan this year, including evening fast-breaking and Eid celebrations. Only one additional person at a time may attend your household to visit, or to share a meal, and the mosques currently remain closed under COVID-19 (Coronavirus) restrictions.
It is inspiring to read of how Muslim Australians will protect their families and loved ones by not coming together during Ramadan, and instead finding innovative ways to connect including using social media to share live-streamed Iftar dinners with their families. I encourage our IOT Muslim families to consider other ways in which they can connect with each other during Ramadan.
I wish you all, "Ramadan Mubarak", and my thoughts are with you all during this difficult and blessed time.
Mrs Natasha Griggs
Administrator of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands