• During the COVID-19 pandemic, many groups and organizations volunteered to provide food and beverages to people suffering from economic problems and those in quarantine at home.
• The Office of the Islamic Affairs Committee for the Bangkok metropolis, together with The Sheikhul Islam Office of Thailand, are organizations which provide food, Halal food to be specific, to people in every district in Bangkok.
• They prepare 200 Halal meals each day and each district office of Bangkok will pick them up and deliver them to people in need. Halal food was delivered to people in Suan Luang, Bang Phlat and Bang Sue districts, including communities in Khlong Toei.
• Samai Charoenchang, Central Islamic Council of Thailand, said “We have to ask the district office to deliver the food for us because they have the information about people who live in their areas, whose families in the community are suffering from COVID-19. If we did it by ourselves, we couldn’t do it properly. So we have to have the district office help.”
• “The budget that we use to run this project is from donated money from 186 mosques all over Bangkok, including the general public, from Buddhists, Christians and Muslims. So we use that money to cook Halal food.”, He added.
• Khlong Toei is a large district in Bangkok which contains around 40 communities. It is the site of one of the clusters of COVID-19 infections during this third wave. People who live in the area have to stay at home and many Muslims, who live in Khlong Toei, have been short of Halal food.
• Imam Abdullah Daveloh, the leader of Nurul Hidayatil Islam mosque, said that “Muslims in the Khlong Toei area do not own the land. The land belongs to the Port Authority of Thailand. So, everyone here is a tenant. Muslims in Khlong Toei do not just live together in one community. They are spread out over many areas. They account for only 10-20% of the population of Khlong Toei. So, we don’t know if there are any Halal food shops in the area, because most of them are rented homes. So Halal food is not easy to find in Khlong Toei.”
• However, Halal food is not only provided for Muslims. Non-Muslims can also have the Halal meals. As Samai said that “Halal food is for everyone, not just for Muslims, because the pandemic doesn’t only strike Muslims. We are Thai people, we have to help each other. We won’t abandon anyone.”
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)