Muslims have suffered disproportionately during the coronavirus pandemic, a new report by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has found.
The report, Together in Tribulation: British Muslims and the COVID-19 pandemic, says Muslims have suffered the highest COVID-19 mortality rates by faith group, the suspension of mosque activities, mental health repercussions, and have been negatively portrayed in media reporting of the pandemic.`
On the other hand, the report says Muslims have showed the strength of their resolve, resilience and community spirit in the way in which they played their part in the national effort against the virus.
From a large representation in key worker industries including healthcare, education, transport and food production, to setting up over 100 community support groups delivering food and medicines to those in need, the MCB says British Muslim have “embodied the Islamic principle of acting in service to others to the fullest extent.”
However, the MCB recommends that:
- There is a need to strengthen the burial sector, which can be met by investing in cold storage or external spaces in case of spikes in burial demands, and establishing a centralised system in which the deaths of every Muslim in Britain can be recorded.
- It is essential that support is provided to those who are not technologically literate in order to help them to access services and programmes that have now moved online
- Community members should be encouraged to keep up their regular donations to their mosques, Islamic institutions and other charitable causes to help ensure the long-term financial sustainability of these institutions which are at the heart of the lives of so many Muslims.
- Alternative methods of communication should be explored in terms of public health messaging, including translating all key public health messaging into community languages, having this relayed by imams and community leaders from the pulpit, and facilitating conversations between Muslim healthcare professionals and community members to directly answer questions and provide a greater understanding of the measures that must be taken to remain safe.
Harun Khan, Secretary General of the MCB said: “Although the pandemic has shown the immense strength of Muslim communities, there have been a number of lessons which we as individual and collective communities need to take into consideration moving forward, that can inform preparations to be better equipped in dealing with subsequent peaks of the pandemic and future surges in cases.
“We hope that the guidance provided is empowering information for our communities and enables them to work together both individually and amongst other communities, to best serve our society.
“I am both proud and humbled by the efforts Muslim communities have shown in light of this pandemic, and what they have been able to achieve in the face of uncertainty. We have truly showcased our capabilities to support one another during something that has been isolating for so many people and have offered hope when it has often been hard to find.
“While our communities have delivered great acts of service the past few months, there is still much work to be done, and I look forward to witnessing what we can achieve looking ahead with more collaborative and coordinated efforts.”