By Zahid Jadwat
The Jamiatul Ulama of South Africa (JUSA) has welcomed the decision by the government to allow the resumption of religious activities at places of worship. The Organization’s General Secretary, Maulana Ebrahim Bham, told Salaamedia that the Jamiatul Ulama had requested for the reopening of mosques in a recent virtual consultation with President Cyril Ramaphosa as calls were being made for “some form of return to normality” and for the government to ease restrictions on other sectors.
Religious gatherings are prohibited under the current lockdown alert level but will be allowed to resume once the country drops to alert level 3 of the coronavirus lockdown on 1 June 2020, provided that hygiene protocols are implemented and restrictions put in place. In a televised address on Sunday evening, Ramaphosa said: “We have a responsibility to also take care of the spiritual, psychological and emotional well-being of all South Africans.”
“After consideration following consultation with our religious leaders, we have therefore determined that as part of the regulations for alert level 3, the current restrictions on congregational worship will be eased in a carefully measured way.”
Maulana Bham, who also stands as a senior figure in the United Ulama Council of South Africa (UUCSA), hit back at criticism that the Organization attracted to supporting the suspension of congregations during the lockdown period. He said that their support was based on medical advice at the time and that “he has no regrets today”.
Under level 3 regulations, places of worship may resume services, but these will be limited in size to 50 people or less depending on the space available. Social distancing will have to be observed and all worshippers and participants will have to wear face masks in line with the regulations.
“Places of worship may re-open subject to strict restrictions, which are absolutely necessary if we are to prevent infections from rising in accordance with norms and standards that will be set out in the regulations,” said Ramaphosa.
Listen to the full discussion here:
Featured image via FreePik.