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Muslims in Michigan Settle for a Different Type of Thanksgiving

Cases at All-Time High

Since early on in the current pandemic, experts have been warning of a “second wave” of spiking cases, expected to hit in the fall, unless recommended precautions were taken very seriously.

It now appears that this second wave has hit. Michigan numbers are all-time high with 12,651 new cases being reported on November 16, the day after Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced new temporary restrictions that were to go into place just ahead of Thanksgiving holiday.

New Restrictions in Place

At a press conference on November 15, Governor Whitmer announced a number of new regulations going into effect. Backing her actions with the Michigan Health Code, Whitmer ordered the closing of all schools above grade 8, banned group fitness classes, closed restaurants’ indoor dining, as well as a number of other venues.

Notably, among the restrictions was a limitation of private gatherings, capping the allowable gatherings at a maximum of two households. These restrictions went into effect on November 18 and are set to be in place for three weeks.

The timing of the governor’s announcement is targeted at curbing the spread of COVID at Thanksgiving gatherings, where families often congregate in large numbers that could pose a serious risk during a pandemic.

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Muslim Families Make Sacrifice for Greater Good

AboutIslam asked several Muslim women from the area what their Thanksgiving plans look like this year. And here is what they said:

“…Although we can’t have Thanksgiving with my family this year, I am going to cook the whole turkey dinner for just hubby and I. Have to learn to adapt to life’s curveballs and still have fun, alhamdulillah!” –Sister Hadeel

“We are looking forward to a catered small meal just for our family … My teenager is especially sad that we aren’t seeing family this weekend. He understands, but it’s still hard.” –Sister Saba

“We are doing Thanksgiving with our immediate family only. This year we grabbed a smaller turkey, and I will make all the traditional sides to go with it. My husband and I love to cook together, and this year will be less stressful, because it will only be us and the kids. I still decorated the house and table, so it will still be festive and it will somewhat feel normal for the kids.” –Sister Safina

“In the past we ordered Thanksgiving dinner … This year, due to the pandemic, I am attempting to make it all myself. God help me! … Usually after dinner we would go to Meijer and walk off some of the food and then watch a movie. This year we will stay home and stream something.” –Sister Alisa

All of us who normally participate in Thanksgiving festivities in a large family setting will miss that aspect of the holiday season. However, it appears that the Muslim community of Michigan is doing our part to keep things small and within compliance of the governor’s orders so that the spread of COVID slows. Hopefully by next year, this will be a distant memory for Michiganders and for all of us worldwide.

About Leah Mallery
Leah is a Muslim convert of almost a decade. She has two kids, an intercultural marriage, and half of a French degree in her back pocket, looking to switch gears to science and medicine. She has lived abroad for over a decade, having just recently become reacquainted with her roots in America. She currently lives in Michigan near her family and – masha’Allah – a sizeable Muslim community.