Who’s helping disabled Muslims this Ramadan?

Picture of a small, hexagonal domed building set inside a mosque, set on pillars.BBC News - Frederic Kanoute supports disabled man's Ramadan fast

Imraan Adam is a Muslim who lives in Derby and has cerebral palsy, and earlier this week it was reported that the council in Derby could no longer pay for the support for him to eat before sunrise and thus be able to fast the day. Imraan has fasted in Ramadan since age 10 (it doesn’t say how old he is now, although he must be over 21 as he has a degree) and in previous years the council has arranged for extra support, but has now refused, citing its difficult financial situation. In this case, the footballer Frederic Kanoute has stepped in and provided the money for him to pay for his extra care.

There are, of course, some people who will say that Muslims shouldn’t expect the wider community to fund “special treatment” like this, although the cost cannot be that great as the number affected (who do not live with families and are severely physically disabled) cannot be that many. This is really something that the Muslim community should be doing for its members, and if the money involved is not that great for a local authority, it shouldn’t be for a local Muslim community either. Every mosque, or at least one in every community, should have a fund to pay for this support. I would imagine that there are a lot of converts in that number. It’s an extra hour’s support for at most 30 days every year, and the community would not have to hire carers but simply pay a care agency (most likely the ones that the people affected are already using) to send someone round.

While on the subject of Ramadan, it’s a great thing that this year everyone in Europe is starting on the same day, and that the “Saudi followers” (mostly the so-called major mosques such as Regent’s Park, Westbourne Park and East London) are not starting a day early. The last time everyone started and finished on the same day was 2008 (when the month coincided with September), and it was widely regarded as a cause for celebration. We do not make a fuss about moon-sighting, or “moon fighting” as some people call it, for kicks or because we just hate the Saudis, but because we do not want to be fasting when it’s not Ramadan and having a big feast while it actually is Ramadan.

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