An Imam from Melbourne’s west is assisting public health officials in the city’s coronavirus hotspots while setting an example by getting tested himself.
Dr Bekim Hasani is the former Imam at the Albanian Mosque in Carlton North and works closely with Muslim communities across the state.
On Sunday, the religious leader went door-knocking in Broadmeadows with officials to help spread information about the potentially deadly disease in the five languages he speaks.
He also got a COVID-19 test.
“It wasn’t the most uncomfortable thing but it’s something that has to be done,” Dr Hasani told AAP.
He said spreading the word about dangers of coronavirus and the need to get tested was the only way out of the pandemic.
“It’s important to get the message across all communities because we’re all Victorians, we’re all Australians,” he said.
“We’re 100 per cent in this together, so we should stick together and follow the safety conditions advised by the Victorian government and health authorities. I encourage everyone to do that.”
The Imam said he and other religious leaders have been extremely busy amid the health crisis, as people grapple with challenges, including feelings of isolation.
The month of Ramadan, which is a highly social and festive time for Muslim communities was especially hard but the messaging remained the same.
“I advised people before the holy month of Ramadan, just to be mindful and to be safe, to stay home and not go out,” Dr Hasani said.
“That was received very well. I’m very happy with the Muslim community here in Melbourne and how well they followed safety measures.”
An “army” of public health officials door knocked the homes in areas of Brimbank, Casey, Cardinia, Darebin, Hume and Moreland at the weekend after they were identified as coronavirus hotspots.
The areas consist of large migrant populations, with many speaking languages other than English at home.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday said coronavirus did not discriminate, with gatherings from “Portsea to Broadmeadows” responsible for the transmission of COVID-19.
“This virus doesn’t discriminate based on where you were born or whether you pray or not, and to whom you pray,” he told reporters.
“It is with all of us and it is with all of us for a long time, and that is why we all have to work together to beat it.”
Australian Associated Press