Over the past months, leaders of a Walsall local mosque have worked hard to adapt to the coronavirus changes and ensure the safety of the community as the mosque reopens its doors.
Being one of the first mosques to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Aisha Mosque and Islamic Centre has put a strict safety plan before welcoming worshippers back last July 10.
“As the government was preparing to relax guidelines, we were in touch with the national bodies of the Muslim community to organize reopening, so we were ahead of the curve,” Dr. Hammed Lodhi, secretary general of UK Islamic Mission and a committee member, told Express & Star.
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“To be able to reopen the mosque was a significant milestone as we had put so much work in over the last few months to prepare everything.”
The measures taken include wearing face masks, using disposable prayer mats, having sanitizing stations at the entrances and a one-way system for entering and leaving the mosque.
The mosque administration also closed the cleaning facilities and toilets at the mosque. Worshippers should also carry shoes in a plastic bag on entry and exit.
Worshippers wishing to attend prayers were asked to book for prayers, holding three Friday prayers to avoid overcrowding.
Shabir Hussain, chairman of the mosque, said the reaction from those attending had been very positive.
“They appreciate the work we’d done here to get the mosque ready and understood why certain facilities were not available due to health reasons,” he said.
“They’re delighted to be back in the mosque after so long and appreciate the fact we’re looking after them, with no negative thoughts at any point.
“It’s all part of our religion and our way of life to help everyone and be a community leader and I think it’s working out so far.”
In the UK, mosques reopened their doors on June 15 after three months of closure.
In Scotland, however, worshippers returned only July 15 to mosques after four-month closure.
Across the world, some Muslims’ reaction to the reopening of mosques went viral including that of an American Muslim basketball player who couldn’t contain his excitement as mosques reopened in Qatar.