Keep mosques closed 'for another month': Muslim Judicial Council

28 May 2020 - 21:40
By Kgaugelo Masweneng
The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has advised against mosques opening during level 3.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has advised against mosques opening during level 3.

The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) is discouraging the reopening of mosques under level 3 of the lockdown.

Mosques, churches, temples, synagogues and other places of worship are allowed to open from June 1.

“Only those masajid should open up within the limits allowed by level 3 regulations that are able to afford, implement and rigorously enforce safety and sanitary procedures,” said the council.

“When considering the ability to enforce these procedures, masjid committees must consider the fact that within our hospitals and health facilities, despite the implementation of stringent precautionary measures, there have been over 1,000 infections of health workers, including doctors and nurses.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday that the national coronavirus command council had decided to "accede to the proposals" made by religious leaders, in accordance with "certain norms and standards".

The easing of restrictions on religious practises, he said, would have to follow stringent measures aimed at minimising the risk of contracting the coronavirus.

This will include not allowing more than 50 people to attend a service. Moreover, places of worship will have to be constantly sanitised - before and after every service.

The council said its suggestion was made in light of the Western Cape having the bulk of the country's Covid-19 infections and deaths.

“We strongly encourage masajid to remain closed for another month. Masajid within hotspot areas should not open at all,” it said.

“Those identified as particularly vulnerable to the virus due to age (60+) or underlying medical conditions should under no circumstances attend the masjid.”