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Ramadan: A time for reflection and care for the vulnerable

Keep an eye on the vulnerable during Ramadan

As many British Muslims begin to plan for a month of fasting whilst they endure, reflect and build solidarity among fellow Muslim men and women, it is also a time to reflect on what has impacted this community in recent years and protect the most vulnerable moving forward. 

Having grown up in a Muslim family, I can imagine many Muslims are beginning to prepare psychologically for a change in their routine where they refrain from eating and drinking between dawn and nightfall. As they break their fast they are going to consume extra sugar content.

The weather condition this year is a blessing due to shorter days and chilled temperatures. A few years ago one of my colleagues had to break his fast due to dehydration and exhaustion on an unbearable hot summer's day. Extreme heat can be a threat to many people’s lives. This is particularly the case when there are underlying health conditions and those who are elderly.

Living conditions & Muslims

Among many Muslims in Britain, we see high deprivation and health inequality.  The latest census in 2021 shows that overall 61% of Muslims in England and Wales live in the lowest 40% of areas in the country ranked deprived. This may not be of surprise to anyone when there has been repeated reference to boroughs such as Tower Hamlet and Newham in the East End of London.  These boroughs have a high Muslim population. Most of them are of Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Somali origin.

In terms of health inequality, according to National Aids Trust, the Muslim community in the UK has older people with over 24 percent of Muslims aged 50 years or above having reported poor or very poor health. This figure is double that of the total population. 

Pandemic & Muslim lives

When Covid-19 hit Britain, many Muslims experienced a collective trauma like never seen

before. According to the Office for National Statistics, deaths involving Covid-19 by religious groups in England, nearly 1,000 in 100,000 Muslim men involving Covid-19. If you compare this data with the Christian men population it is every 400 out of 100,000.  Or if you compare the figure with the Jewish community, it is every 500 out of 100,000.

Cost of living for Muslims in UK

Having been shattered by the pandemic,  many Muslims opened a new chapter where the focus is no longer on hospitalisation and death toll due to the virus.

This time the actual cost of living in many of these areas has increased because of the rise in the price of rice, fruit, veg, meat, and most importantly fuel. This phase has shown that everyone is not all in this together because, according to the Muslim Council of Britain, an estimated 50% of Muslim households in the UK are living in poverty compared to 18% of the general public.

Ramadan & vulnerability

Elderly Muslims are more vulnerable to health inequality, deprivation, the pandemic and fasting. Many of them will insist on fasting regardless of their underlying health conditions. The uptake of sugar content also needs to be monitored.  It is our responsibility to make sure frail and elderly Muslims are not put at risk.  



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