Religious leaders across the world are discussing reopening worshipping houses after three months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However in the UK, Muslim leaders have called for mosques to remain closed despite the government saying places of worship could open for “individual prayer.”
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British Muslim imams have also criticized the plans to reopen mosques, saying say they fail to take into account that prayers at mosques almost always take place in groups, Arab News reported.
Imam Qari Asim, chairman of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB), warned that taking this approach could “cause more challenges” due to the congregational nature of Muslim prayers.
MINAB aims to support Mosques and Islamic institutions to re-open as soon and as safely as possible.
To this aim, MINAB has prepared interim guidelines for mosques to start thinking and putting processes in place about re-opening.
“The fundamental difference between mosques and some other places of worship is that mosques are first and foremost used for congregational prayers,” he said.
“Individual prayers can be performed anywhere, primarily at homes. Accordingly, opening the mosques on 15 June will cause more challenges for mosques and imams as the expectation from the community will be to resume collective worship.”
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) also expressed concern over the viability and safety of the government’s plan.
“Mosques are primarily for congregational worship, so there is currently significant uncertainty and concern from mosque leaders on how to implement the new regulations,” Harun Khan, secretary general of the MCB, said.
Since the outbreak of the new coronavirus pandemic, countries have taken drastic measures to halt its spread.
Measures included the closure of the Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah and suspension of Umrah.
Late last month, worshippers returned to the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah and 90,000 across Saudi Arabia after 70 days of shutdown due to coronavirus pandemic.
Mosques in Makkah, including the Grand Mosque, remained shut in line with a plan to gradually return to normal life.