Coronavirus: Prayers at UAE mosques, other places of worship suspended for four weeks

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Abu Dhabi - Friday prayers, too, have been suspended.

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Published: Tue 17 Mar 2020, 6:56 PM

Congregational prayers, including those offered on Friday, have been suspended across all mosques in the UAE for a period of four weeks. The General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE) said late on Monday that the decision was taken to avoid the spread of Covid-19 and protect public health.
The decision applies to all places of worship like temples and churches.
The decision was based on the directives issued by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) and Ministry of Health and Prevention. It was guided by a fatwa issued by the UAE Fatwa Council.
"At mosques, only the Azan (call for prayer) will be given out to alert worshippers about prayer times. Mosque doors will remain closed," the GAIAE said. "The words 'pray at home' will be repeated twice at the end of the Azan."
The call that signals the start of a prayer won't be made. Ablution halls at mosques will also be closed. "The situation on the current Covid-19 pandemic will be reassessed after four weeks."
The GAIAE appealed to all mosque-goers and worshippers to comply with the directive and offer their five daily prayers at home.
The UAE Fatwa Council had previously urged Muslims suffering from respiratory or immunity issues to avoid congregational prayers. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was closed to visitors from Sunday. Authorities in Sharjah had earlier suspended the gathering of worshippers at churches, including services, prayers and other activities.

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