Muslim migrant workers to get congregational prayers inside their dorms for Ramadan

Each dormitory will be allowed to hold two congregational prayer sessions for up to 200 attendees.
Each dormitory will be allowed to hold two congregational prayer sessions for up to 200 attendees.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Migrant workers who are observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan will be able to attend congregational prayers within their dormitories from April 13 to May 12 - the full duration of the fasting month.

Dormitories will be allowed to hold two congregational prayer sessions for up to 200 attendees, subject to the size and availability of the sites at each location, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Friday (April 9).

Meanwhile, the ongoing vaccination drive for migrant workers will continue. The vaccination hours will be extended to 10pm during Ramadan to cater to Muslim workers who have to break their fast before vaccination, added MOM.

"Vaccination does not invalidate the fast, and migrant workers are encouraged to take the Covid-19 vaccine when they are given the opportunity to do so," it said.

The drive to vaccinate Singapore's migrant workers is currently in its second phase, with about 30,000 workers across 30 dorms scheduled to get their jabs in the next few weeks.

Phase one of the operation in March saw about 9,000 eligible workers receive the first dose of their vaccinations.

Dormitory operators may apply through the Assurance, Care and Engagement (Ace) Group to organise these congregational prayers. Ace group is cooperating with the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) to allow this to happen, said MOM.

"These congregational prayer sessions can be conducted at suitable locations within the dormitories (for example, multi-purpose halls or common rooms) with the necessary safe distancing measures," said MOM.

The congregational prayers will be held for the evening prayers (Terawih) and the morning prayer on Hari Raya Puasa on May 13.

Dormitories may also nominate their residents to be approved as prayer leads (Imams) by Muis.

There will also be alternative arrangements for those who are unable to attend these congregational prayer sessions.

The Muis YouTube channel has programmes available in Bengali, and the Muis Ramadan Guide 2021 has also been translated into Bengali and disseminated to Muslim migrant workers inside and outside of the dormitories.

A large proportion of Singapore's migrant workers hail from Bangladesh, where 86.6 per cent of the population is Muslim.

"MOM will continue to work with dormitory operators and employers to cater to the Muslim migrant workers' needs in observing Ramadan while ensuring adherence to the measures necessary to deal with the risks posed by Covid-19," added the ministry.