Worshippers gather at the Al Noor Mosque in Sharjah. Photo Salah Omar/ Gulf Today
Jamil Khan, Senior Reporter
With the opening of the mosques for the public, the Community Development Authority in Dubai (CDA) has revealed the resumption of prayers in non-Muslim houses of worship licensed by CDA. This comes after completing a series of indicative and precautionary measures that continued over weeks.
The resumption was directed by CDA, The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) in Dubai and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) to ensure a safe return to the practice of religious rituals and the protection and safety of community members.
The CDA in line with the gradual return plan for life after the coronavirus pandemic had prepared a list of general guidelines and precautionary measures that houses of worship should follow in preparation for the reopening. These included scheduling prayers on specific timing, physical distancing procedures, and comprehensive sterilisation to be done by sterilisation centres accredited by Dubai Municipality. A working group has also been formed from CDA and NCEMA to implement a comprehensive campaign, including field visits to places of worship to follow the implementation of procedures and provide consultations and observations that ensure their readiness to re-open. This is apart from testing the clergy registered in the houses of worship licensed with CDA to ensure their safety from the “COVID-19” virus.
Dr Omar Al Muthanna, CEO, Licensing & Monitoring Sector, CDA, said that CDA worked diligently over the past weeks with the licensed houses of worship to find solutions that are appropriate to the cultures and customs of each religion, so that the re-opening of houses of worship properly maintain the health and safety of visitors and worshipers. CDA has circulated precautionary instructions that the places of worship should follow, including providing thermal detection devices, organising the entry and exit of worshippers, and closing prayer rooms immediately after each prayer.
“Proceeding from the leadership’s keenness to restore the normal life cycle after the coronavirus pandemic, CDA studied cultures and behaviour in each house of worship separately and special plans were developed for each of them to ensure the possibility of a safe and gradual return to prayer,” he said.
“CDA stressed on the places of worship that it is necessary to adhere to the general regulations for reopening them, including the fact that the capacity of the house of worship does not exceed 30%, and the commitment of worshippers to bring prayer books and their other prayer tools. In addition they should not shake hands and only wave and offer peace remotely.”
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