As we ease into 2021, let us pause to reflect on 2020 — ­a year of extreme trials and tribulations. It is a year that we will remember for the disruptions it caused to all aspects of our lives. COVID-19, whilst exposing and magnifying many shortcomings in our society, has also brought our resilience and patience to the fore.

Our masajid have had to contend with unprecedented restrictions and limitations — no tarawih prayers, no jummah prayers, no daily congregational prayers, social distancing. In the face of such adversity, the masajid leadership has responded with resilience, ingenuity and impeccable responsibility, not hesitating to make difficult (and unprecedented) decisions to protect our communities. Our plight would be significantly worse if it were not for the brave and timely decisions our imams and mosque leaders have taken. May Allah reward them for their efforts.

In the course of the past nine months, we have lost many loved ones to this wretched virus that has left countless grieving families and friends in its wake. Our burial capacity has been fully stretched, with the burials team under a substantial mental and physical burden. Yet, they have quietly done what has been asked of them in a dignified manner, respecting the wishes of families concerned. It is a testament to their efforts that every burial has been undertaken within 24 hours of the request. We have worked closely with Bradford Council, West Yorkshire Police and the NHS, each of whom has proved excellent partners in helping deliver the service to our community.

CfM, for its part, has reached out to Mosques providing advice, information and practical support from outright financial assistance, to PPE equipment, to signage, through to risks assessments. In addition, it has proved itself an invaluable platform for sharing experiences and best practice.

There is increasing hope of turning a corner with newly approved vaccines. However, we are not yet out of the woods. The virus continues to spread at an alarming rate. We will need to remain focused and vigilant in the weeks and months ahead to continue protecting our communities.

On behalf of the Council for Mosques team, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Mosque leadership for their cooperation and support during these trying times.

May Allah SWT guide us and protect us.