Oman and Kuwait, neutral states during the Gulf rift, took a more cautious approach to the pandemic throughout Ramadan than Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. They kept mosques closed and declined to loosen curfews to accommodate the holy month. Rather, restrictions increased.
Kuwait’s Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs Ministry innovated by creating a free mobile app, Ramadan in Your Home, to ensure that people remain engaged under the curfew. Oman also continued religious programming across its traditional media outlets.
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A celebration of resilience
At the heart of the Gulf rift is Qatar, whose tensions with its neighbours in many ways boil down to their similarities. Qatar has its own strategy for putting itself on the global map, however, just as it had for Ramadan during the pandemic – one that combined elements of Kuwait and Oman’s approach with those of the other GCC states.
Like Bahrain, Qatar kept its state mosque open for select prayers. Like similar programmes in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Qatar Charity launched a nearly $3 million Ramadan campaign that targeted over 2 million people, both within Qatar and abroad.