23 June 2020
MCB Responds to Latest UK Government Announcement on Places of Worship in England
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement easing the restrictions on places of worship in England, Harun Khan, Secretary General of the MCB, said:
“The MCB welcomes confirmation by the Prime Minister that places of worship are permitted to re-open for congregational prayers and services, including for wedding functions with up to 30 people, in England from 4th July, but urges communities to take all practical precautions.
“Following extensive consultation with hundreds of mosque leaders nationwide from a wide range of backgrounds during lockdown, the Muslim Council of Britain produced a 9-step guide to re-opening mosques safely. The guidance urges mosque leaders to exercise caution when preparing for re-opening, as well as reminding individual Muslim community members of the importance of self-deciding whether it is safer for them to remain home to pray and attend online services, rather than being physically present in the mosque.
“With new ONS data last week revealing Muslim communities have been hit hardest by COVID-19 and the risk of a second wave ever-present, it is imperative that the preservation of life is at the forefront of the minds of mosque leaders and Muslim community members in the coming weeks.
“Not all mosques will be ready to open for congregational worship from 4th July, and it is important that nobody feels rushed into reopening until all practical precautions to ensure physical distancing and extra hygiene measures are in place and trialled first as per the guidelines.
“Balancing between the spiritual needs and public health and safety of communities is difficult, with each institution needing to carefully consider its specific context.
“All faith communities await further guidelines on re-opening places of worship from the UK Government, including for supplementary faith schools such as madrasas, and we urge the UK Government guidance to ensure its upcoming advice is more precise, detailed and inclusive than it has been to date.”