Mosques in Jordan and the occupied Palestinian territories will remain closed amid the coronavirus pandemic during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan which commences late next week.
The Jordan Times reported on Tuesday that the Awqaf Minister Mohammed Khalaileh announced that the ban on public mosques will continue throughout the month of fasting. Khalaileh emphasised that the Taraweeh prayers, which are nightly evening prayers usually performed in congregation during Ramadan, should be performed at home to enforce social distancing. The minister added that activities will instead be broadcast from King Hussein Bin Talal Mosque.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Palestinian Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Hussein announced a similar decree yesterday, ruling that Muslims must hold prayers during the sacred month at home rather than in mosques, which were closed since the outbreak of the virus last month.
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"The taraweeh prayers will be held at home, because reopening the mosques is linked to the end of the coronavirus crisis," Hussein said.
As the Islamic calendar is lunar-based, Muslims in both countries were also advised against seeking the crescent moon in the night skies to mark the start of the holy month and asked to leave this to the relevant bodies, the Hashemite Scientific Councils and Palestinian Astronomers Association, respectively.
The Palestinian Authority has accused Israel of covering up COVID-19 cases in occupied East Jerusalem and has claimed there are 300 cases of the disease in the occupied West Bank and 13 in the besieged Gaza Strip. There have been reported that occupation forces have been hampering testing efforts in Arab areas and shutting down testing centres. Jordan has seven reported deaths and just over 400 cases of the coronavirus.