Algerian politician urges not fasting to halt coronavirus spread
Politician Noureddine Boukrouh posted a status on his Facebook account urging that the logical - thus Islamic - thing to do this Ramadan is to abstain from fasting during the holy month due to the disease.
"The majority of Muslims have a spiritual connection to Islam and only understand it through their cultural, family and social heritage. They are originally Muslim by necessity and motivation of habit and not because of their personal choice of Islam as a religion," he said.
"But when, in addition to these factors, one is committed to Islam through intellectual and rational conviction, then he sees things and thinks about them in a different perspective."
He said that Islam is a religion that champions intellectualism and discourages blindly following faith. Because of this, Muslims need to evaluate whether fasting during the coronavirus pandemic is the right thing to do.
"Muslims either have to suspend fasting, because a hungry body may be more vulnerable and could end up causing the spread of coronavirus, or to opt for fasting and be at the risk of a wider outbreak of the virus," he said.
There is no tangible proof that fasting will contribute to the spread of coronavirus and mosques and Islamic institutions across the world have taken social distancing precautions.
Vulnerable Muslims, including the sick, elderly, breast feeding and even menstruating women are already exempt from fasting during the holy month.
Leading Muslim clerics have backed the call to close all mosques during Ramadan, a time of year when they are usually at their busiest. Worshippers are already resorting to praying at home to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Saudi Arabia has stopped issuing visas for pilgrims from abroad wanting to perform the Umrah pilgrimage, as well as their own citizens, and will continue to do so during Ramadan.
According to Saudi authorities, over 7 million foreign pilgrims travelled to the kingdom to visit Mecca during Ramadan in 2019.