Muslim leaders in Minnesota push to get community vaccinated before Ramadan

The holy month of Ramadan begins on Monday, and in Minnesota, there’s been a push to make sure those in the Muslim community who want to be vaccinated are able to be ahead of the holiday.

Leaders in the Muslim community have been working with the state to hold vaccination clinics at mosques. So far, they’ve been able to get 7,000 doses for their effort and are working to get 3,000 more.

"What most people may not realize is that the Tarawih prayers, the mosques are more full than even the Friday prayers, so it is usually very crowded very jampacked," said Imam Asad Zaman with the Muslim American Society of Minnesota.

Last year, the holy month looked very different: prayer, fasting and the Iftar meal were done outside the mosque, away from others.

"They are chomping at the bit to get back into the mosques and it can easily be predicted that if these people are not vaccinated, we will have problems," said Imam Zaman.

Imam Zaman is the executive director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota. He reached out to the governor’s office six weeks ago to make sure vaccines would be accessible to Muslims ahead of Ramadan.

"They have allocated 7,000 doses and now we have 18 mosques, 18 vaccination clinics and this particular mosque is going to have one on Monday," explained Imam Zaman.

There are also three clinics Sunday - two in Minneapolis and one in Blaine - and others later next week.

"It’s really important for our community members to be able to congregate and be around family members and other community members during that time, and we just felt whatever we could try to do to get an event prior to Ramadan was important," said Vaccine Clinic Organizer Hassan Mian.

While there was hesitancy at first from some unsure about getting the vaccine, the clinics are now filling up.

"Now, the easiest thing you can do is just roll up your sleeve and get vaccinated, and that will solve a lot of the issues we’ve had," said Mian.

These clinics have mainly been giving out Johnson and Johnson vaccines, as those require just one dose and immunity would kick in a little quicker, which would be ideal for the upcoming Ramadan holiday. But they’re encouraging Muslims to get whatever vaccine is available.