Following a consultation with hundreds of mosques and dozens of regional and national Muslim associations in the past few weeks, the MCB has produced updated guidance on the safe and gradual reopening of mosques for congregational worship, which the UK Government has so far indicated could be from as early as 4 July in England, subject to further scientific advice.
The guidance provides mosque leaders with a checklist of issues to consider before reopening and essential measures to put in place to minimise the risk of the spread of infection. It includes a template risk assessment, key decisions to be made prior to reopening, advice on maintaining social distancing within the mosque, what to do if an attendee develops coronavirus symptoms and communicating your plans to your local community.
Commenting, Harun Khan, Secretary General of the MCB, said:
“Though we as Muslims are longing to go back to our mosques and worship with our communities, it is essential that we do not rush. Coronavirus is still prevalent and dangerous, and mosque leaders must carefully plan and decide when they feel they can put the required controls in place to reopen in the safest way possible. These guidelines are designed to help mosque leaders achieve this.
“With BAME communities including Muslims communities disproportionately impacted by coronavirus, we must prioritise the safety of our communities and focus on minimising the risk of infection transmission in our decision making. The preservation of life is paramount in Islam.
“Local coordination is also essential, and we encourage mosques leaders to implement a coordinated approach with other mosques in their town, city or borough, utilising local Councils of Mosques, regional Muslim forums and other platforms to share advice, best practice and resources.
“Regarding the UK Government’s announcement that in England, places of worship can reopen for ‘individual worship’, while this may be suitable for church buildings, it is evident that implementing this for most mosques is considerably challenging and impractical. We recommend that it is more useful for mosque leaders to invest their time and efforts into preparing for safely resuming congregational prayers from as early as 4 July, with timeframes in Scotland and Wales to be announced.”
Post-script: On 12 June, the UK Government issued its guidance for safe re-opening places of worship (covering England only), including being able to open for ‘individual worship’ from 13 June.
Click here to view a one page MCB summary of relevant points for mosques: