The biggest Islamic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S. has suggested there is a degree of irony in President Donald Trump deeming a mosque an “essential” place that should reopen, having once instigated a ban on Muslims entering the country.
Some religious communities have greeted with caution the order by Trump to reopen places of worship. He said he had instructed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue guidance for churches, synagogues, mosques and places where adherents of other faiths can gather, to open their doors again after the coronavirus shutdown.
“Ministers, pastors, rabbis, imams and other faith leaders will make sure that their congregations are safe as they gather and pray,” Trump said in the announcement on Friday, describing them as “essential places that provide essential services.”
However, Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of the Council on American–Islamic Relations said that the country’s Muslim schools and community leaders “have already determined that mosques will not be open in the near future because of the health concerns brought on by the pandemic.
“That’s a determination for them to make, not for the president to make,” he said, according to NPR. “I don’t anticipate any mosques changing plans based on what was said by the guy who launched the Muslim ban,” Hooper said, referring to the executive order issued in January 2017 which sought to ban the entry of foreign nationals from several Muslim majority countries.
While some mosques, such as in Houston, will open with limits on attendance, most Muslim communities are turning to technology to celebrate Eid al-Fitr this weekend, which marks the end of the month of Ramadan.
The Islamic Society of Boston’s two mosques will stream a virtual Eid sermon and communal takbir, followed by Eid car parades, Religion News reported.
Meanwhile, a televised Eid service in Michigan will be streamed on social media on Sunday morning, while the international Ismaili Muslim community’s new online streaming channel, tweeted that it will mark the occasion with a two-day concert by Ismaili musicians.
The Fiqh Council of North America said in a statement that Muslims should perform Eid prayers in their homes alone or with their own families and encouraged mosques to broadcast their sermons.
Sheikh Abdul Nasir Jangda, founder of the Qalam Foundation in Texas, said worshippers could still mark the occasion at home.
“We face the prospect of an Eid that is difficult and challenging. Similar to our mindset in Ramadan, we can and should find a way to have a joyous and meaningful Eid,” he said in a statement.
The infographic below, provided by Statista, shows the U.S. states with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases across the U.S. as of May 22.
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