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Monday, May 10, 2021
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‘It’s not the same’: French Muslims celebrate Ramadan under lockdown

 For the second year in a row, French Muslim business owner Aziz El Moujahid and his wife Lalla Aicha Moujahid are spending Ramadan in lockdown.

Instead of dining with a large group of friends, family and neighbours, they have had to whittle down their guests to four — on Friday (April 30) night, they were two family friends, and two of their sons.

After breaking fast with bread and kebabs, Lalla Aicha Moujahid checked in with her two daughters by video call and wished them a happy Ramadan.

After eating, the dining tables are moved aside to make space for prayers at home — another anomaly, as in normal times the family would go to the mosque.

The shadow of pandemic restrictions has hung over Islam’s holiest month across the continent as Europe battles the COVID-19 outbreak and the rise new variants.

Ramadan is marked by intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts after sunset.

In France, home to Europe’s largest Muslim population, the 7 pm (1700GMT) nationwide curfew means nighttime prayers at the mosque, for 2021 at least, remains impossible.

(Production: Yiming Woo)

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