The Supreme Mufti Sheikh Siriman Kasule Ndirangwa has appealed to the government of Uganda to consider re-open places of worship so that believers can jointly seek divine intervention in the battle against COVID-19.
He said all Muslim leaders are now aware of the danger that COVID-19 presents and very well know how to conform to the Standard Operating Procedures. He added that all believers are optimistic that God will only help the world to come out of this pandemic if people, call unto his name.
Sheikh Ndirangwa made the call during the celebration of Eid-ul-Adha, the Greater Eid through which faithfuls commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion and his readiness to sacrifice his son, Ismail before the sacrifice was replaced with a ram from God. In his honour, Muslims are expected to slaughter an animal as a sacrifice to mark this occasion.
But the celebration this year has been disrupted by the closure of mosques and a ban on congregations of any kind, as the world battles a new strain of coronavirus disease, which spreads faster through person-to-person contact. This is the first Eid Al-Adha to be celebrated with mosques closed, celebrants at their homes and preachings conducted virtually. Ndirangwa says there is no justification for opening all the other public spaces and maintain restrictions on places of worship like mosques.
Several countries have implemented physical and social distancing measures aimed at interrupting transmission of COVID-19 by reducing interaction between people, such as the closing of mosques, monitoring of public gatherings and other restrictions on movement and gatherings.
Neighbours Kenya have already announced the gradual resumption of congregational worship in which only 100 congregants will be allowed into the sanctuaries at a time. Services will also be restricted to just an hour, while vulnerable persons and minors below the age of 13 will be exempted from the services.
According to the World Health Organisation, the measures are fundamental mechanisms to control the spread of infectious diseases, particularly respiratory infections, associated with large gatherings of people like COVID-19.
The health agency has equally advised that in celebration of Eid Al Adha, the faithful should avoid the crowded gathering associated with the distribution of meat, and instead, consider using centralized entities, agencies, and institutions, which should adhere to physical distancing throughout the whole cycle of collecting, packaging, storing and distribution of meat.