Sacrifice feast in corona time: pray outside at 1.5 meters

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In most mosques in the Netherlands the prayer continued this morning in an adapted form. For example, a mosque in Utrecht has moved the prayer service to a sports hall. The prayer of the El Fath mosque in Heerenveen took place on the athletics track and two mosques in Den Bosch held the prayer together on the football fields of BVV Den Bosch.

“It is a very difficult situation,” said Mohamadi El Harche, chairman of the Essalam Mosque in Rotterdam, to Edition NL. “We really doubted whether we should open it.” The mosque decided to open the doors anyway. “We have taken many measures and we strictly adhere to the measures of RIVM.”

1,5 meter

That decision was not an easy one. “On the one hand, we would have preferred to stay closed, in order to avoid risk. But our mosque is also struggling financially. Normally you have weekly collections, they have not been able to take place for a long time.”

The house of prayer uses the one and a half meter rule. “As a result, the number of places inside has been halved. Outside on the square we have also created a place to pray.”

Disinfect and dress at a meter and a half

“The Feast of Sacrifice is very important to people,” Muhsin Köktas, chairman of the Muslim and Government Contact Body, tells Editie NL. “Mosques have been closed for months, including during Ramadan. Mosques have used that time very well to see what may be possible. They have thought very carefully and translated the measures from RIVM to the mosque.”

What is the Feast of Sacrifice?

Muslims worldwide celebrate the Festival of Sacrifice, also known as Eid al-Adha. The Festival of Sacrifice is one of the most important festivals for Muslims. People commemorate the sacrifice of the prophet Ibrahim, who wanted to sacrifice his son for Allah. Just before the prophet could make the sacrifice, Allah replaced his son with a ram. The animal was slaughtered instead of the boy. During the feast, an animal is ritually slaughtered per family to honor this act.

According to Köktas, the measures are properly observed. “It is very well understood by the people. And in Islam a lot of value is attached to health. People pay close attention to the rules and posters that are hung and translated.” The toilets and preparation areas are closed, people have to disinfect their hands and the prayer rugs are 1.5 meters away.

In the Netherlands, the Sacrifice Feast ends on Monday 3 August.

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