Covid in UAE: Religious leaders react to new social distancing norms

The pandemic situation was constantly being monitored, and precautionary measures were in place



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By S. M. Ayaz Zakir

Published: Thu 10 Feb 2022, 5:28 PM

Heads of various religious institutions in the UAE have welcomed the new social distancing norms in their respective places of worship.

On Wednesday (February 9, 2022), the UAE authorities announced that the necessary social distance rule between people in places of worship had been reduced to one metre.

"Now a greater number of worshippers can be accommodated in the masjids and pray, with the distancing between the worshipper reducing to one metre from 1.5 metres," said Mohammed Al Hassan Khan, the Imam of a masjid in Deira.

"Worshippers are often seen praying outside the masjid. Due to change in weather, it is a bit difficult during Zohar prayer, and it will be solved now," he added.

Dr Abdul Hameed Zafrul Hassan, the Imam of a masjid in International City, said that this move was a crucial step in return to normalcy:

"We must give due [credit] to all the residents in UAE for following the measure laid by the government which kept all the religious institutions safe."

He also pointed out that safety protocols are announced before every prayer, and "if someone is seen to be complacent with the safety measures, the heads of the institution personally advise them".

He also explained that the social distance for ablutions (Wudhu) would remain the same since the authorities currently have no directive to address this.

"Wudhu, or ablution, can be done at home before coming to the masjid, which also contributes to one's good deeds. If you are on the move, then a worshipper can do Wudhu at the masjids."

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During his weekly Covid-19 briefing, Dr Saif Al Dhaheri, the official spokesperson for the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA), said that the pandemic situation was constantly being monitored, and precautionary measures were in place.

However, the Gurudarbar Sindhi Temple in Bur Dubai will not be decreasing the social distance between devotees.

"We will continue with the 1.5-metre distance," said Gopal Kookani, the General Manager of the Gurudarbar Sindhi Temple, Bur Dubai.

He added that the move would be quite useful for devotees since it was aimed at keeping them safe, as well as to help them "offer pooja in a relaxed manner".

All the religious leaders have also requested that worshippers follow social distancing norms and isolate themselves if they had any covid-19 related symptoms.


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