A number of mosques to hold Friday congregation prayers, violating government instructions

Kirkuk, March 2020 – disinfectants being sprayed at mosques – Photo: Kirkuk Administration

Goran Baban - Kirkuk

A number of mosques will be holding Friday sermons and congregation prayer today (18 Spetember 2020), while that has been forbidden by the Iraqi Sunni Endowment due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Samal Baziyani, an Imam at one of Kirkuk’s mosques, told KirkukNow: “As a group of Imams, we have decided to open the doors of our mosques for worshipers on our responsibility and hold the Friday congregation prayers.”

Baziyani added that they will be following the health instructions and will not be allowing elderly people and children to mingle with others.

“We think that filling the spiritual vacuum and worshiping God will reduce the harms of the Coronavirus. That’s why we felt responsible, and also due to pressure from Muslims, we will be opening the doors of the mosques. We insist on it.”

mosques remain closed while most places in Kirkuk, like tea houses, cafes and bazaars are reopened

Baziyani added that they don’t accept that mosques remain closed while most places in Kirkuk, like tea houses, cafes and bazaars are reopened.

Mosques, churches, temples, and other places of worship have been closed by the authorities since mid-March as preventive measure against the further spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Salm Majid Wali, head of Kirkuk Sunni Endowment, told KirkukNow that they are aware of the intentions by the Imams to hold Friday sermons, and that it is not the first time that more 25 mosques open for Friday sermons.

“We can summon the Imams and reprimand them, but we don’t want to undermine them before the public because they are Imams.

According to international Fatwa, anyone infected with the Coronavirus who enters a mosque and dies there, is considered suicidal.”

Mosques in Kirkuk will be officially allowed to reopen on 20 September, but Friday congregation sermons will be allowed.

There has been a spike in the number of COVID-19 infections, and a number of Imams have contracted it and died.

In Kirkuk province there have been 11,771 cases registered. Of them, 9,177 have recovered, 483 have died, and 2,111 are still in treatment.

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