Derby Muslims Still ‘Afraid’ to Return to Mosques

Mosques in Derby opened their doors to worshippers on Saturday, July 4th, after more than three months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Introducing a new set of rules and procedures, the mosque welcomed worshippers who were told to wear masks, bring their own prayer mats, and perform wudu’ (ablution) at home.

“When we heard the announcement we were naturally happy and the feeling around the mosques was full of joy and relief,” Derby Jamia Mosque committee member Nazir Hussain told Derby Telegraph.

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“We started preparing for opening by having a deep clean of the mosque, putting up safety posters and carried out a risk assessment.

“Our mosques were shut for more than three months, and with Ramadan and `Eid not being observed at the mosque it was very tough for our Muslim community.”

New Measures

Hussain, the 50-year-old, who lives in Derby, said that though they were very happy the mosques are open again, he feels normality is still a long way away.

“We are very happy congregational prayers are happening, and even though we are nowhere near full capacity, we are happy to see some worshippers coming to pray,” he said.

“We are only allowing members of the community who are healthy and showing no symptoms of Covid-19 to enter the mosque and minimize the risk of the virus spreading.

“People are still scared and have their doubts, which is perfectly understandable as it’s still very new and it will take time for people to get back to normal.”

People Are Afraid

Abid Taj, spokesperson for The Islamic Centre, in Sacheveral Street, agreed that many people are still afraid to come to mosques.

“People are still reluctant to come to pray at the mosque, but for us, it’s nice to give people that opportunity to perform congregational prayer,” Taj said.

“It’s a weird feeling and only allowing a certain number of people in is something we have never had to do before, but circumstances have changed and we have to make sure we are observing a duty of care towards worshippers.

“We are making sure we are following the government guidelines as a mosque and also ensuring worshippers are doing the same.”

Religious leaders across the world have had discussions on reopening worshipping houses after three months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the UK, Muslim leaders have called for mosques to remain closed despite the government saying places of worship could open for “individual prayer.”

Eventually, mosque started some sort of reopening in the UK from June 15.

Some Muslims’ reaction to the reopening of mosques went viral including that of an American Muslim basketball player who couldn’t contain his excitement as mosques reopened in Qatar.

Musa Abdul-Aleem, a basketballer at Al Wakrah Club, shared a video of himself happily running toward a mosque in Al Wakrah, while repeatedly yelling, “The Masjid’s open!”