Sami Kadri, a spokesperson for the Yukon Muslim Society, sits for a portrait in the Whitehorse mosque on April 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Yukon Muslim community will be celebrating Ramadan differently this year

Prayers and feasts will not be held at mosque due to COVID-19 measures

The Whitehorse mosque has taken precautions to ensure the safety of worshipers during the month of Ramadan in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sami Kadri, a spokesperson for the Yukon Muslim Society, spoke with the News on April 23 about what will be changing for Ramadan celebrations this year. Ramadan — a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community observed by Muslims — begins on April 24 and concludes on May 24.

“This is not a normal time for Ramadan,” Kadri said.

“We’re striving to live this Ramadan, with full spiritual splendour amongst these limitations.”

Prayers in the Whitehorse mosque have been suspended, including all Ramadan-related services, following the recommendations from the Yukon government.

Kadri explained he is looking to guide the community through educational programs, which would connect people online. The Muslim society is looking into the possibility of live-streaming prayers.

He mentioned that Muslims would be guided to use these types of existing services that are offered already across Canada.

“These spiritual reminders are already available online,” Kadri said.

During Ramadan, most adult Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. The timing is typically from one hour before sunrise to sunset daily. People in the Yukon typically observe either Yukon or Vancouver sunset times, Kadri said.

He said people work as usual during the day and go to a night prayer afterwards. Ramadan night prayers are typically one hour in congregation.

At the end of the day the fasting is broken. People invite others over for a feast, called iftar, to break the fast together. He said this is typically when there would be a big gathering at the mosque.

In Whitehorse, he said there have been between 50 to 60 people attending the daily prayers and meals during Ramadan in years past.

There is a major celebration the morning of May 24 called Eid. People typically gather at 10 a.m. for a prayer, listen to a speech from the imam and celebrate afterwards.

“It would be a bigger gathering,” Kadri said.

He estimated that 90 to 100 people would typically attend the end-of-the-month celebration.

This year, he said it has been recommended to leave the celebrations within households. Kadri advises against inviting anyone to your home who does not already live there in order to limit potential COVID-19 transmission.

He said physical and spiritual well-being is the most important thing and that it is paramount for everyone to follow the recommendations and orders of the territory’s health officials.

“That’s what we focus on and what we keep reminding our community to do,” Kadri said. “There will not be a gathering of people.”

He indicated that families understand and should be limiting celebrations to just their households.

Kadri said this will not be easy; it will be emotional and there are a lot of mixed feelings.

“People are missing the prayer and congregation,” he said.

Kadri wanted to remind everyone that although it will be tough, it will be a good time for spiritual reflections. This can help the community and individuals strengthen their connections with God in this time of crisis, he said.

“We try to circulate this message,” Kadri said.

He said the pandemic is impacting everyone, not just the Muslim community, and everyone should be following the advice of territorial and federal health officials.

Kadri feels the community is getting used to the change.

“It could be the norm for the future,” Kadri said. “Who knows?”

He said that with Ramadan coming during a time of global struggle, Muslims understand that physical distancing is the only viable tool available to combat COVID-19 presently.

“We have to strive to be patient and strive to live this Ramadan with a full spiritual experience,” Kadri said.

He said he prays that with the month’s fasting and worship that everyone in Whitehorse can find safety, and that people love and support each other to the best of their ability.

Contact Gord Fortin at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


To ensure the safety of worshipers during the month of Ramadan in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Whitehorse mosque will continue to remain closed. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Just Posted

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. Politicians return for the spring sitting of the assembly March 4. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Analysis: What to expect in spring sitting of the legislature

They’re back on March 4, but election speculation is looming large

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted online. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon youth being extorted online Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports… Continue reading

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Guatto and program manager Andrei Samson outside the chamber office in downtown Whitehorse Feb. 23. (Stephanie Waddell, Yukon News)
When business models shift

Whitehorse chamber offers digital marketing workshop

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read