Goma, DRC, May 2020. Vulnerable children gather for a shared meal at a muslim community centre in Goma during Ramadan last week. © Ley Uwera for Fondation Carmignac

Ramadan Under Lockdown in Goma

Goma, June 3, 2020
Reading time: 5 min

With coronavirus lockdown rules in effect, Muslims in Goma and elsewhere across Congo were unable to celebrate Ramadan together. Instead, families marked the holy month of prayer and fasting in small groups at home.

“Any Muslim would prefer to pray five times at the mosque, in a group, and to break the daily fast in a large community,” said Goma resident Djaffar Al Kantanty.” That wasn’t possible this year.

Centres of worship were closed across Congo under the country’s state of emergency imposed to contain transmission of the coronavirus. Still, Al Haj Hassim Moussa, head of the Haji Wawa mosque in Goma, said some people still came to pray together despite guidelines on social distancing.

Goma, DRC May 2020. Imam Al Haj Hassim Moussa, head of the Haji Wawa mosque in Goma. [4] 2020. A man reads the Koran in his eyeglasses shop in Goma during Ramadan © Ley Uwera for Fondation Carmignac
Goma, DRC May 2020. Imam Al Haj Hassim Moussa, head of the Haji Wawa mosque in Goma. [4] 2020. A man reads the Koran in his eyeglasses shop in Goma during Ramadan © Ley Uwera for Fondation Carmignac
Goma, DRC May 2020. With religious centres, including the Birere mosque, closed under Congo’s coronavirus lockdown, members of the muslim community in the eastern Congolese city of Goma passed the holy month of Ramadan at home.  © Ley Uwera for Fondation Carmignac
Goma, DRC May 2020. With religious centres, including the Birere mosque, closed under Congo’s coronavirus lockdown, members of the muslim community in the eastern Congolese city of Goma passed the holy month of Ramadan at home. © Ley Uwera for Fondation Carmignac
Goma, DRC May 2020. A man reads the Koran in his eyeglasses shop in Goma during Ramadan. © Ley Uwera for Fondation Carmignac
Goma, DRC May 2020. A man reads the Koran in his eyeglasses shop in Goma during Ramadan. © Ley Uwera for Fondation Carmignac
Goma, DRC, 2020. Unable to attend mosque to pray with others due to coronavirus restrictions, digital entrepreneur Ally Kahashi prays alone at home in his apartment in Goma. © Ley Uwera for Fondation Carmignac
Goma, DRC, 2020. Unable to attend mosque to pray with others due to coronavirus restrictions, digital entrepreneur Ally Kahashi prays alone at home in his apartment in Goma. © Ley Uwera for Fondation Carmignac

Less than two per cent of Congo’s population of over 84 million people are Muslim. Islam made its way into eastern Congo during the 18th Century as East African Arab ivory traders travelled inland to hunt elephant tusks. Most Congolese Muslims identify as Sunni (90%) with the rest identifying as Shia.

Nearly 95% of Congolese citizens are Christian, 56% of them Catholics, 16% Pentecostal, 12% Protestant. Local traditional religions, including animist and shamanist beliefs are also common. Roman Catholicism in Congo is largely a product of the colonial era, with Belgium subsidizing missions to establish schools and hospitals throughout the country.

Goma, DRC. Amida Twaha, a member of an association of muslim women that helps young members of her community gain access to education, in Goma during Ramadan. © Ley Uwera for Fondation Carmignac
Goma, DRC. Amida Twaha, a member of an association of muslim women that helps young members of her community gain access to education, in Goma during Ramadan. © Ley Uwera for Fondation Carmignac
Goma, DRC. Hajati Assina Missona. © Ley Uwera for Fondation Carmignac
Goma, DRC. Hajati Assina Missona. © Ley Uwera for Fondation Carmignac
Goma, DRC. Sauda Pelaji © Ley Uwera for Fondation Carmignac
Goma, DRC. Sauda Pelaji © Ley Uwera for Fondation Carmignac

Les reportages