Expectations have increased over the last week of imminent moves to ease COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
Already, government-defined essential services such as work, public transport, and marketplaces have been able to operate safely with the implementation of appropriate safety measures.
Additionally, beaches have begun to re-open, visitation restrictions eased, and announcements made regarding the re-opening of schools, professional sporting codes, sporting clubs, restaurants, auctions, and other similar businesses.
Meanwhile, there has been no public discussion around reopening places of worship or lifting the ban around communal gatherings for religious purpose.
In light of this, we would like to highlight the following points:
- Muslims hold dear the value of preservation of life. We are cognisant of the current realities around COVID-19 and take this crisis seriously, including expert advice around reducing risks of transmission.
- Masjids are central to Muslim life and the communal prayer lies at its heart. It is of great concern that amidst the discussion of lockdown relief, there has been no mention of when the universal closure of places of worship may be lifted. For the Muslim, this is unacceptable, particularly when accommodations are being made for other activities, and special interest groups are making representations adding to the calls for restrictions to be eased in their fields.
- Masjids and other prayer facilities are more than capable of taking expert advice and implementing measures that sufficiently reduce the risks around transmission. We have seen businesses, transport and shopping centres come up with workable solutions to remain in safe operation. In this regard, we are only limited by our creativity.
- If we remain silent and accept to be mere bystanders in this discussion, for how long will we accept for our mosques and centres to remain closed and communal prayers prohibited? Having a voice does not mean the only options for us are either completely opening or completely closing our masjids.
- While the current secular political order gives little credence to spiritual matters and relegates them to the bottom of the priority list, we unapologetically state that not only should they be central to human beings and society, but even more so in times of disaster and human suffering. Reopening places of worship is in fact an urgent and integral part of the solution.
- Mosques are essential in Muslim life and the prayers enacted in them are indispensable for the community. Any thought that positions places of worship at the bottom of the priority list and deemed non-essential is most unfortunate. It’s time for responsible heads to prevail.
Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia
13 Ramadan, 1441
6 May, 2020