Muslims break fast with President Halimah, in first such in-person event in two years, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Muslims break fast with President Halimah, in first such in-person event in two years

Community partners, diplomats and some Muslim leaders broke their fast together on Thursday (April 14) in the first in-person communal break fast event in two years, alongside President Halimah Yacob, who was the guest of honour.

During the last two years, the annual Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) Buka Puasa event was held virtually due to safe management measures.

Guests at the Singapore Islamic Hub watched students from Madrasah Irsyad Zuhri Al-Islamiah put up a pre-recorded performance and skit while waiting for the call to prayer that signified the breaking of fast.

At 7.12pm, everyone tucked into bento boxes of nasi briyani, with friendly murmurs of small talk between bites.

In her address at the event, Madam Halimah said the Muslim community has displayed tremendous resilience and patience throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said: "With the easing of restrictions, more people in the community will now be able to participate in congregational prayers and religious activities in our mosques.

"These developments are no doubt welcomed by many who look forward to activities such as the nightly 'tarawih' prayers during Ramadan."

She commended religious institutions in Singapore for seizing opportunities to better serve the community, highlighting Muis' SalamSG Movement, which was launched this year.

Under the movement, local mosques and community partners host activities like food and grocery distribution throughout Ramadan.

SalamSG also has a YouTube channel to provide the Muslim community with access to religious lectures and classes.

Madam Halimah said: "The channel now includes more than 20 videos in Bengali catered to our migrant workers, exemplifying the spirit of extending blessings and assistance to all in need."

Chief executive of Muis Kadir Maideen said the relaxed safety curbs have made this year's Ramadan more upbeat and joyous, with more people being able to perform daily congregational prayers together.

"Although we still have some Covid-19 safe management measures in place, we can now go on with many activities that was restrictive over the past two years."

He said it was possible only because of dedicated volunteers assisting at the mosques and strong support and cooperation from the community.

Mr Kadir said the community also stepped up their Zakat contributions last year, with Muis' monthly Zakat assistance now benefiting 7,800 households, an increase of 19 per cent from 2020.

He said that $28.7 million in total was disbursed to help the poor and needy across various programmes and schemes conducted by Muis.