Muslim Dad jokes, interactive storytelling, activities, game shows and movie nights are all part of a re-imagined Ramadan in the US where the pandemic has changed the nature of the holy month.
“It’s a big change. One day you’re in school normally, and the next day recess is gone,” said Mohamed Armouche, 10.
Armouche, a Muslim-American, is trying, like countless other children, to navigate a harsh new reality brought on by a ravaging global pandemic.
“I really miss praying Friday prayers with my friends during Ramadan,” said Armouche.
The world’s 1.8 billion Muslims ushered in the holy month of Ramadan amidst an isolating pandemic, indiscriminate in its reach. If there’s a time of year that most embodies the closeness at the heart of Islam, it’s Ramadan. What is typically a communal holiday, the coronavirus-era version of Ramadan has had to adjust to safety protocols and measures and, in some ways, forced communities to find creative ways to nurture the spirit of this special month.
Amin Aaser, father of two, drives his 2013 Nissan Altima every day, sometimes multiple times a day between his home in Maple Grove, Minnesota and his office.
“I love my job, I pinch myself everyday to make sure I’m not dreaming,” he says. Aaser is co-founder of Noor Kids, an Islamic character-building program for children.*
Founded in 2012, the organisation began with a vision to build character and inspire Muslim kids to be proud of their faith. After experiencing bullying because of his faith at the onset of 9/11, Aaser, a Muslim-American, was determined to find a solution for the future generation of Muslim youth.
Ramadan has been busy for Noor Kids. Dubbed the “Muslim Mr. Rogers,” Aaser’s nightly routine consists of putting on his bright blue Noor Kids hoodie, sitting in front of his computer and hosting Noor Kids Digital Ramadan Camp for Kids.
The program is filled with Muslim Dad jokes, interactive storytelling, activities, game shows and movie nights. Aaser’s fun-loving demeanor, comedic spirit and electrifying energy has managed to capture the minds and hearts of thousands of Muslim kids around the world.