Large-scale Ramadan prayers for migrant workers return, though first session drew small turnout

SINGAPORE – For the first time in three years, Muslim migrant workers right here will have the ability to carry out their particular night time prayers (terawih) collectively in a big congregation of as much as 500 devotees throughout Ramadan.

Kranji Recreation Centre will host 500 migrant workers for their Friday night time communal prayers for the subsequent three Fridays till April 29, and meals might be ready for the workers to allow them to take pleasure in their iftar (break quick meal) collectively.

There may also be an occasion at Tuas South Recreation Centre on May 3 to mark the tip of Ramadan, and to rejoice Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

These gatherings have been made potential by the easing of protected administration measures that started on March 29, which embody now not requiring protected distancing in mask-on settings. This means mass prayers will be carried out with out folks having to take care of gaps between one another.

The first run of the communal prayers final Friday (April 8), nonetheless, was plagued with communication issues.

Organisers had ready to host 500 workers at Kranji Recreation Centre final week, with meals catered by non-profit organisation Free Food For All for the identical variety of congregants, however solely a small variety of workers confirmed up.

When The Straits Times arrived to cowl the occasion at about 7pm, solely about 20 workers have been getting ready to interrupt quick within the recreation centre’s canteen.

After consuming their meals, fewer than 5 of the workers headed to a corridor arrange as a prayer house. They have been led in prayers by a spiritual chief from An-Nur Mosque.

At about 8pm, when it appeared unlikely that any extra workers would present up, Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA) president Ezekiel Tan gathered members of the media to apologise for the scenario, and mentioned it was not clear to him why the no-show had occurred. The unconsumed meals was redistributed to dormitories, mentioned Reverend Tan.

The mass prayers initiative is organised by the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO) in partnership with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), JTC Corporation, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, An-Nur Mosque and Free Food For All. AGWO is a motion underneath HIA, a non-governmental organisation.

Seeing that no extra workers have been arriving, mosque representatives left at 8.30pm, though the occasion was alleged to final till 9.30pm. Another 11 workers, who have been a part of the group that had damaged their quick collectively within the canteen, then prayed within the largely empty corridor.

ST understands that HIA, which usually organises its occasions for migrant workers in Tuas, had put collectively Friday’s prayer session in Kranji on the request of the authorities.

It had thus introduced collectively the logistics wanted for the occasion, with the understanding that the companies would direct the workers to the centre for prayers.

On Monday, MOM and JTC mentioned in response to media queries that particulars of the Ramadan prayer occasion have been confirmed late, and that details about the occasion was shared with migrant workers staying at close by dormitories solely on Friday morning, the day of the occasion.

In Islam, communal prayers throughout Ramadan are extra rewarding than prayers executed individually, and in addition foster kinship and familial relationships. In 2020, migrant workers staying in dormitories largely needed to pray on their very own or with their roommates throughout Ramadan. The scenario improved final yr, when as much as 200 workers a day might attend congregational prayer periods in every dormitory day by day.

“The short notice could have led to the poor turnout… We will learn from this episode to better coordinate future events with our partners,” mentioned MOM and JTC.

“We will also consider scheduling such events on weekends when more migrant workers visit the recreation centres.”

MOM and JTC mentioned they will proceed to facilitate congregational prayer periods at recreation centres and dormitories right here.

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