Bangladesh suspends prayers at all places of worship

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Religious Affairs Ministry issues emergency notice

The Bangladesh government has suspended prayers for the public at all places of worship and religious institutions across the country in a bid to stop the further spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Religious Affairs Ministry issued an emergency notice in this regard on Monday.

The ministry made it clear that people would not be allowed to go to mosques, temples, churches, etc., to offer their prayers.

Earlier, Islamic Foundation requested all to limit prayers and only to offer jamaat at mosques and continue all other prayers at home.

Meanwhile, many Muslim-majority countries across the world have curtailed or suspended outright Friday and daily five-time prayers due to fears of coronavirus. Among these countries are Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia and Indonesia.   

According to the state-run Saudi Press Agency, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body had recommended the closure of mosques to Friday prayers across the Kingdom except at the two grand mosques in Mecca and Medina.

In the notice issued on Monday, the ministry said people would not be allowed to go to mosques to offer prayers, and urged the public to pray at home.

Muslims have been asked to offer Zohr prayers on Friday instead of Jumma.

According to the notice, the Imam, Khatib, Muyazzin and other staff, however, not more than five persons can offer prayers at mosques. They can also offer Jumma prayers, but they must be limited to 10 people.    

According to the directive issued in Bangladesh, no one will be allowed to organize any religious function involving mass gatherings. The government will not allow any religious gatherings, including religious training, Waz, Milad, Tafsir Mahfil and Tabligh Jamaat, anywhere in the country.

The government has announced such directives in line with religious principles as well as taking into account the worldwide deadly coronavirus situation.

The Religious Affairs Ministry has requested all religious committees countrywide to implement the directive, failing which the government would take legal action for any violation of the directive, according to the notice.

“The directive will come into effect immediately,” said Nurul Islam, secretary of the Religious Affairs Ministry.

He told Dhaka Tribune: “All deputy commissioners across the country have been ordered to strictly execute the directive from the government in this regard.”

“Until the danger of the contagion disappears, prayers in congregations will be suspended,” he further said.

Islamic Foundation has urged all Muslims to offer prayers on the occasion of Shab-e-Barat at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Many mosques in Dhaka began conveying the directives to the public on Monday evening.

Meanwhile, the death toll from coronavirus rose to 12 in Bangladesh as the country confirmed three more deaths on Monday.

So far, 123 people have been infected in Bangladesh, 35 in the last 24 hours alone.