Pandemic protocols hit mosque purses

Bonteheuwels Aljamia Uthmania mosque is appealing for funding.

Most mosques have now reopened, but they’re appealing to the public to donate money for Covid-19 sanitising.

Places of worship have been permitted to reopen since June 1, albeit with restrictions, but various mosques chose to only open this month.

However, the mosques say lockdown has eaten into their funding at a time when they need to take extra measures to protect worshippers from Covid-19.

Farouk Salie, chairman of Bonteheuwel’s Aljamia Uthmania mosque, said they had had no collections since March.

The mosque opened on Wednesday August 19 for prayers. 

Worshippers had made electronic payments while the mosque had been closed, but they hadn’t been enough, and sanitising mosques after each prayer would be costly, he said.

Worshippers have to wear a mask, keep their socks on, take their own prayer mats and stay two metres apart for each other.

The mosque has also put plastic sheets over the carpet so it doesn’t have to be sanitised after each prayer.

“We are appealing to the community to donate funds to the mosque for the upkeeping of the mosque. We cannot have fund-raisers as it is still lockdown,” Mr Salie said. 

The 50-person quotas for all prayers were full, he said. Friday prayers will
be held at 12.30pm and again at 1.20pm.

“We request that all musallees cooperate with the rules and regulations as we are just trying to safeguard them.” 

Primrose Park mosque’s vice chairman, Naasif Adams, said public donations in March and April had carried the mosque for two months, but the money was now gone.

The mosque opened on Wednesday August 12 for 50 people. The rules at the mosque were non-negotiable, Mr Adams said.

“There is a big shortfall for what we need for the month as our expenses come to about R30 000 a month. We also need funds for continuous sanitising. Upon entering, all worshippers are temperature checked, hands are sanitised and at the end of each day the mosque is sanitised.”

Chairman of the Surrey Estate mosque, Ighsaan Achmat, said it would open on Monday August 24. It was also short of money, he said.

The elderly were encouraged to stay at home as they were high risk candidates for Covid-19, he said. 

“We are trying our best to adhere to Covid-19 rules, and we urge all musallees to bring their own musallahs with them and donate funds towards the mosque. Our Jumuah (Friday) prayer will be discussed and then we will decide how many sessions we will have.”

The second deputy president of the Muslim Judicial Council, Sheikh Riad Fataar, said the reopening of mosques had to take place within the confines of the law.

“Furthermore, all the necessary health protocols, as set out by the government departments, need to be observed and adhered to in order to ensure the continued safety of our community.

“This includes rigorous implementation of the 50-person limit that has been gazetted for public religious gatherings.”

No ablution facilities should be used at mosque, Friday prayer should only be 15 minutes long and only obligatory prayers should be performed at mosque, he said.