Reopening responsibly: Faith leaders in UAE urge worshippers to follow coronavirus safety measures
Dubai - Faith leaders and priests hailed the move and vowed to ensure that the worshippers adhere to all precautionary measures.
By Saman Haziq and Sahim Salim
Published: Mon 29 Jun 2020, 10:00 PM
Last updated: Tue 30 Jun 2020, 6:55 PM
After more than 100 days of closure as a precautionary measure against the spread of Covid-19, mosques and other places of worship will reopen in the UAE from July 1. Mosques, temples, churches and gurudwaras will reopen at 30 per cent capacity amid strict safety measures that will ensure social distancing between worshippers. Faith leaders and priests hailed the move and vowed to ensure that the worshippers adhere to all precautionary measures. Adhere to safety measures, mosque imam urges Mohammed Al Hassan Khan, imam of a mosque in Deira, said he did not have words to describe his happiness. "The mosque will reopen after 107 days. Once again, the melodious recitation of the Holy Qur'an will reverberate throughout the city. "This has been made possible by the grace of Allah; the wise decisions taken by our esteemed leaders and the hard work of our frontline healthcare workers," said Khan. "The UAE leaders have been issuing directives and following up on them day and night to ensure the safety of citizens and residents." The imam urged worshippers to adhere to all precautionary measures to prevent the virus from spreading. "We shouldn't let the efforts of our leaders and healthcare workers go to waste." Strict measures to ensure safety: Church priest Rev Fr Ninan Philip, vicar and president of St Thomas Indian Orthodox Church in Oud Maitha, said the church has put in place stringent measures to ensure safety. "We have made sure to put into place guidelines as prescribed by the Community Development Authority (CDA). These include bright floor stickers to ensure social distancing; defined entry and exit routes; sanitisers throughout the premises; conducting disinfection drives throughout the area; and placing thermal scanners. "We need to be extremely cautious in effective management of crowd, and ensure that this (reopening) serves as a blessing to many," the priest said. We have been preparing for 3 weeks: Temple trustee Raju Shroff, a trustee of the Sindhi Guru Darbar Temple in Bur Dubai, said the patrons had been preparing for this moment since the last three weeks. "Authorities conducted inspections at the temple last week. All precautionary measures including thermal scanners, disinfection tunnels, social distancing markers, and crowd control measures will be adopted at the temple. "There will be no sit-down prayers; only standing darshan will take place. Also, food will not be served at the temple premises," said Shroff. Interfaith unity stronger than ever: Gurudwara chairman Surender Singh Kandhari, chairman of Gurunanak Darbar in Jebel Ali, said though the Covid-19 pandemic caused suffering, "it has also inspired moments of interfaith unity". "We have all learnt to survive and to live with a greater sense of perspective and appreciation of life's small pleasures," he said. He added that the gurudwara would implement strict precautionary measures and protocols as laid down by the authorities. These include: >Those without masks and gloves won't be allowed inside >Restrooms will remain closed >All devotees will maintain a social distance of two metres >They would need to pass through a sanitising tunnel >The gurudwara shall be closed immediately after the darshan hours. firstname.lastname@example.org (With inputs from Dhanusha Gokulan)