The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) have made a decisive move to keep masajid closed for the time being, amid fears that opening places of worship could fast-track the spread of the coronavirus. The Western Cape remains the epicentre of the epidemic in South Africa and to date has the largest percentage of infections and deaths due to Covid-19. Medical professionals who are working in the frontline and who are analysing the progression of the infection in Western Cape, predict that the peak will be reached end June after which they predict the level of infection to be maintained for a sustained period before sloping downward.
Despite President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that places of worship can reopen under level 3 of the lockdown, the MJC feels the Western Cape is not ready yet.
“We also understand the movement from level four lockdown to level three is as result of the socio-economic conditions in the province which potentially poses a greater risk to the population than the covid-19 virus. Therefore, despite the move to level three, the risk of infection in the province remains a major concern,” said the MJC in a statement last night.
“Taking the above into consideration, the MJC after consultation with its General Majlis and the Fatwa Department, have recommended that Masajid delay opening its doors for congregational prayers for at least another month.”
Masajid who wish to open their doors on 1 June, as per the announcement of the State
President, must do so with the full knowledge that they can comply with the safety regulations
that will be made available by Government. Strict adherence to these regulations is a must for
the safety and welfare of congregants. The MJC also recommended a staggered approach and to not start with 50 persons but to rather slowly phase in the amount of persons starting from a small number and gradually increasing in number.
“Masajid who are not ready to undertake this responsibility, and who do not possess adequate
resources to ensure the safety of congregants should remain closed until they are able to
guarantee adherence to regulations.”
Masajid who are situated in areas identified by the province as ‘hotspots’ are recommended
to remain closed for congregational prayer until the situation in that area improves. The ulema body said these recommendations are of paramount importance as they are based on the principle of the preservation of life.
“We respect the positions taken by Masajid that have decided to remain closed for an additional period. We also respect the Masajid who have decided to open its doors. We do however advise that it is done taking in all the health risks and guidelines into consideration,” concluded the statement.
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