MCB Urges Mosques to Re-Assess Safety Measures If They Choose to Remain Open
Reacting to the announcements today about Scotland and England heading into another “Stay At Home” lockdown from this week, Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “With hospital admissions and number of deaths sadly rising extremely fast, at levels significantly greater than several other Western European nations, we are yet again faced with tougher restrictions.
This will be a devastating blow to everybody, but especially the elderly, vulnerable and socially isolated who will need extra support. We also urge the Government to provide more support to mitigate the social and economic impacts across society, from parents and school pupils, to business owners, charities and young people starting their careers.
Despite the often poor timeliness of communication from Government, we all have a public duty to protect one another from harm by stopping social contact as far as possible. Now is the time for communities to pull together as we did in March last year and support those most in need.
Under the new government guidance, places of worship in England are allowed to continue communal worship. However, in Scotland, places of worship must suspend communal worship.
Some mosques in England have voluntarily suspended communal activities in recent weeks out of precaution and many individuals are re-assessing whether they will go to their mosque to pray. The MCB calls for tremendous care for mosques choosing to remain open to public worship given the Alert Level 5 (highest Level), and from our guidance issued on 31 December, we urge mosques to re-assess their safety measures given the new strain and higher risk, and further restrict age limits to protect elderly attendees; open windows to ensure good ventilation; and increase to 2m social distancing.
If these or other additional safety measures are not deemed by mosque trustees as sufficient, our recommendation is for the mosque to suspend communal worship. Many community members who are choosing not to access the mosque physically, must be catered for through livestream services, virtual sessions and opportunities to make their charitable donations online. Care for those in need will be particularly important during this new lockdown, and it is important that mosques are able to provide support for those who need help and can signpost to mental health services where required.
In the coming days we encourage our affiliates to recruit and organise more volunteers to help those in need during this tough time. Within acceptable guidelines, our charities, mosques and associations must continue to assist the elderly and those most vulnerable, regardless of faith.”
Latest MCB COVID19 guidance for Muslim communities is at: www.mcb.org.uk/coronavirus
Guidance for mosques issued on 31 December:
|High risk factors include, but are not limited to:||Example of extra safety measures include, but are not limited to:|