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Masjid Al Hayy Offers Vaccine Events Ahead of and In the Spirit of Ramadan: "We're Open For Anyone To Come In"

Photo: Masjid al Hayy
Photo: Masjid al Hayy

Masjid Al Hayy was one of the first mosques in Central Florida to act as a vaccine site. 

WMFE spoke to mosque outreach coordinator Minaz Manekia about how distributing shots fit with the mosque’s mission.

Danielle: So you were the first mosque to act as a vaccine site in Seminole County. Why was it important to get involved in the governor's efforts to vaccinate at houses of worship?

Minaz: So we're actually fortunate, we're part of the Sheriff, Seminole County Sheriff's Office faith based member. And they played an instrumental part in getting us the opportunity to have the mobile site vaccine.

And we're because of our outreach events, we're very involved civically involved in the community with our outreach efforts.

Danielle: Can people still get vaccinated at your mosque? And who's eligible and how does it work?

Minaz: So, on February 27, we had 400 appointments for the vaccine. And this was all managed by the EMS team and the second dose is scheduled for March 20. As of now, we're just doing the first and the second dose all 65 and above, or health or non-hospital health care workers.

Danielle: And what should people keep keep in mind ahead of that second dose event?

Minaz: So basically, they need to bring their vaccination cards with them.

I think the first time when they came, they saw how the process was. I think they'll be more prepared because we got a lot of questions that they didn't know what to expect coming into a mosque. And there was a lady who actually wrote saying, 'I felt God was there.'

And it gave me the goosebumps, because this was only in the dining area that you know, we were performing this vaccine, it wasn't even in the main hall.

And she actually emailed to ask if she should wear a scarf when she comes in.

We actually request when we're doing tours at the masjid inside the main hall, we request women to wear a scarf and modest dressing. But because this was a medical facility that we offered, and it was in the dining hall, we didn't impose, you know, any rules onto anyone. And Islam is very universal. It's not, you know, it's not about imposing.

Danielle: What has it been like, preparing for Ramadan, while doing all of this at the same time? I know it's your holy month, and it's coming up very soon.

Minaz: This is another addition to what Ramadan is, is for us.

And it's all about giving back and helping the community. So this was one of the efforts that kind of puts in the umbrella of Ramadan for us. So we kind of dedicated a day to take away and just, you know, give as much as we can and prepare while we're preparing, we were able to get volunteers to come and help us and we had actually about 25 volunteers from our end on February 27, to help us make it a smooth process.

Danielle: I had one last question. What other events are you guys planning for Ramadan, in this age of social distancing and the pandemic, any any community events that you guys will still be able to put on?

Minaz: So in the first week of Ramadan, we're actually having, we host our annual interfaith iftar, where we invite the non-Muslims and you know, to come and break the fast with us.

So that is scheduled the first week of April and this time because of the pandemic we're actually hosting it outside in our courtyard. So people feel safe and you know, able to kind of continue obviously, we're limiting the amount of the participants. This is a place yes for Muslims, but we're opening it up for everyone anyone who needs to come and any any possible activity that we can do to help anyone and if it is a benefit to the community. We're open for for anyone to come in.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.