WITH Easter just gone and Ramadan now under way, religious people have been forced to find new ways to worship while in lockdown.

Newport resident Shaz Miah and his family of five have got very creative with their own mini mosque, while Raglan's St Cadoc's Church vicar Kevin Hasler has got his whole congregation on Zoom.

Last Saturday, intent on lockdown not scuppering his family's Ramadan celebrations, Mr Miah spent hours with his three sons building the mosque in his conservatory in Maindee.

The impressive creation has all the details of a normal mosque, and even includes the green dome synonymous with that built above the tomb of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in Madina, Saudi Arabia.

"2020 will mark the first Ramadan in living memory that Muslims in Wales and across the globe cannot attend mosque to pray and break their fast," Mr Miah said.

"Normally every night we would go to the mosque to pray a special prayer called ‘Taraweeh’, but this Ramadan Muslims will have to pray in their homes and break their fast without their extended family or friends during ‘iftari’ breaking of the fast.

"The lockdown is a difficult time for everybody especially for those who are fasting but we can make fasting in lockdown fun. I always wanted to build a dedicated space for prayers in my house and this lockdown presented the perfect opportunity."

Mr Hasler, who has welcomed over 80 worshippers on Zoom for his virtual congregations, says the lockdown has offered a chance for reflection, improvement, and greater community spirit in Raglan.

He has now done five Sunday services on Zoom.

"Religion is not about buildings, it's about communities and people," he said, "and that's why it was so important for us to carry on.

"We've also done virtual coffee mornings, which have proven so popular we've had to split them into smaller groups. It's a great way of connecting, which is so important at this time.

"Easter time is about transforming what should be impossible, into something positive. That's not easy at this time, but we can help each other to reflect and connect better than before.

"I'm grateful to have learned Zoom, and to be able to bring people together when I can."