FAITH AND TRUST

Open mosques in low Covid-19 counties - Muslims

Muslims to celebrate Idd-ul-Fitr on Saturday or Sunday depending on sighting of the moon.

In Summary

•On Thursday, the Kenya Muslims National Advisory Council said government should trust Muslims enough to adhere to strict guidelines for opening mosques.

• He said mosques that don't observe health directives should be closed.

 

Kemnac chair Sheikh Juma Ngao and chief adviser Juma Abdulrazak at the Panaroma Hotel in Mombasa on Thursday.
GIVE US THE TEST: Kemnac chair Sheikh Juma Ngao and chief adviser Juma Abdulrazak at the Panaroma Hotel in Mombasa on Thursday.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO

@Yobramos4                               

Muslim clerics in Mombasa have urged the government to open mosques in counties with few or no Covid-19 cases for Idd prayers.

Muslims will celebrate Idd-ul-Fitr on Saturday or Sunday depending on the sighting of the moon.

The government has gazetted Monday, May 25, as a public holiday to celebrate Idd.

On Thursday, the Kenya Muslims National Advisory Council said the government should trust Muslims enough to adhere to strict health guidelines for opening mosques.

Where's the logic?

Sheikh Ngao said it is illogical to trust drunkards to drink beer and keep social distancing and not trust Muslims, who do not drink, to do the same.

This will test how disciplined Muslims are, the council said.

“If the government can trust drunkards enough to keep social distancing in eateries, then it should trust Muslims enough to open mosques for Idd prayers,” Kemnac chair Sheikh Juma Ngao said.

Sheikh Ngao said it is illogical to trust drunkards to drink beer and keep social distancing and not trust Muslims, who do not drink, to do the same.

He said counties like Kwale, Marsabit, Meru, Kisumu and Lamu have recorded few or no Covid-19 cases yet all their mosques are closed.

Sheik Ngao said mosques that don't observe the anti-virus directives should be closed.

In Mombasa and Nairobi, where Covid-19 is prevalent, it is understandable to keep mosques closed, he said.

“Prayers are an essential weapon against this pandemic. It is only through prayers that we can win against the Covid-19. And prayers done together are stronger than prayers done individually,” Sheikh Ngao said.

Kemnac member Shahame Mwaringa, chair Sheikh Juma Ngao and chief adviser Juma Abdulrazak at the Panaroma Hotel in Mombasa on Thursday.
DON'T PUNISH US: Kemnac member Shahame Mwaringa, chair Sheikh Juma Ngao and chief adviser Juma Abdulrazak at the Panaroma Hotel in Mombasa on Thursday.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO

The Matatu Owners Association on Thursday said this year they will not provide free transport for Muslims going for Idd prayers because of the virus.

MOA Coast coordinator Salim Mbarak said it is unfortunate transport will not be free.

“The usual 15 matatus that we provide every Idd day will not be available this year,” he said.

Kemnac chief adviser Juma Abdulrazak said it is also disturbing that police keep arresting poor people who cannot afford masks and then pose them to the coronavirus in cells.

He said the poor prioritise food over masks in the rare times they get money.

“Arresting them and forcing them to pay a Sh500 fine or forcing them into crowded cells makes no sense,”  Abdulrazak said.

Shahame Mwaringa, a Kemnac member, said police should release all suspects arrested for lacking masks because the government has not provided the masks.

“If the government used the hundreds of billions of shillings to buy masks for the poor, then the police would have been justified,” he said.

Sheikh Ngao also asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to order the Madagascar ‘herbal tonic’ that they claim cures Covid-19.

The ‘cure’ has not been tested and the World Health Organization has warned about its use.

Despite this, Malagasy President Andry Rajoelina has promoted the medicine and even exported it to Tanzania on request from Tanzanian President John Magufuli.

On Thursday, Sheikh Ngao said the cure could work well in Kenya.

“If without the Madagascar medicine we are recording more recoveries than deaths, then there will be even more recoveries and even fewer deaths with the cure,”  the Kemnac chairman said.

(Edited by V. Graham)