Lockdown 2.0 is in some ways harder than the first national lockdown. However, the support that the Muslim community has provided to each other and everyone in this country is remarkable.
We want to thank our Mosques, Madrassahs, Maktabs, and councils of mosques for their dedication and hard work over the last 9 months to ensure the safety of our worshippers and compliance with the Public Health and Government guidelines making places of worship covid secure. It is very encouraging to see that the implementation of safeguards and the mitigation of risk were so robust that the government data highlights that mosques are amongst the safest public places.
In a recent meeting with faith representatives including MINAB, the government officials mentioned that the collective place of worship statistics show that there were only 47 reported covid cases in total for England. During that meeting, Ministers and officials thanked faith settings for their diligence and positive cooperation. However, as we are in the midst of a pandemic, we need to continuingly assess the risk and not lose grip of the safeguards implemented.
Clearly, there is a lower risk of transmission in mosques in comparison to public spaces however for deeper analysis is required in this regard. We have started conducting research with Public Health England who is taking a survey in this field.
Lobbying the Government
While mosques are amongst the safest places and continue to put measures in place to reduce risk,
the suspension of congregational prayer (Jama’at) during lockdown 2.0 has been disappointing. MINAB joined other faith leaders in writing to the government asking them to reconsider the suspension of communal prayer. Common worship is constitutive of our identity, and essential for our self-understanding and therefore we will continue to lobby the government to ensure that there is parity among Masjids and Madrassahs in the updated guidelines. We will argue that performing prayer with social distancing and time-restriction, and in a covid secure condition is less likely to spread the disease than banning Jama’at which may drive some groups underground.
MINAB has also liaised with the Department of Education to seek clarity regarding Madrassah opening and face-to-face education continuing in a covid-safe environment.
MINAB is aware of the severe financial impact on Mosques. MINAB continues to lobby the government for financial support for our Mosques and Faith institutions.
If there are any other matters that you would like us to raise with the government, please let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org