Members of the UK’s Muslim community are being kept abreast of the latest Covid-19 news through a range of services being provided by The Muslim News.
While the lockdown has resulted in the production of printed copies of the monthly newspaper being reduced to just a few thousand, the publication is keeping in touch through its 60,000 circulation on-line newsletter, as well as providing a new digital PDF version of the paper.
The paper also has plans for regular free webinars bringing together experts and readers from the Muslim community to discuss the coronavirus and its impact.
“We have found ourselves very busy since the lockdown began in ensuring we keep our readers and the community informed,” commented The Muslim News publisher and editor Ahmed J Versi (pictured).
“We are staffed by mostly volunteers, so we have not had to place anyone on furlough and our one full-time employee is working from home.”
Versi told the SoE that their work was needed more than ever to ensure readers received the latest information.
“There has been some confusion with mixed messages coming from the government we have felt. But in the UK unlike in some Muslim countries there has been no resistance to mosques closing their doors. Part of this has been made easier by the fact mosques here provide audio in homes and along with digital and video links can provide calls to prayer – although not the prayers themselves on video – as well as lectures and support.
“With Ramadan approaching we have been ensuring that the message is there that people must stay in their homes and not break their fast by visiting with family and friends as is usual.”
Versi said that the lockdown has been particularly hard for elderly people in the Muslim community who find the mosque as a central part of their life.
“But the good news is that as they are isolating with the younger generation there is a lot more interactivity,” he added.
“The Muslim community has found itself at the frontline in fighting the virus. Many of the first deaths reported were of Muslims working in the health service, and they carry out many diverse essential roles such as bus drivers and taxi drivers where the risk is great.
“We started by hearing of one or two deaths a week to then four, five or six a day. I have been told of incidents where bodies are not able to be collected from where they have died at home for some hours, in one case a lady lay in her home for 48-hours.
“Muslims also tend to live in large families with three or four generations living together which brings more risks from the virus spreading. It is important that we continue to help provide them with the latest information on staying safe.”