The mosques in Malaysia are backing to their work on September 1st, said defence minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob. Following the months of lockdown, reopening will allow Muslim foreigns workers to pray at the places of worship next week, Coconut reported on Tuesday.
All mosques across Malaysia are preparing to reopen next week after more than two months of a total ban. Amid still rising COVID-19 infections, the new health protocol will be applied for all worshippers.
“We have decided to allow foreigners who work in this country to pray in mosques beginning Sept. 1, 2020,” Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.
According to the defence top official, foreigners will have to register themselves before entering the mosques, and the authorities there will have the final say on allowing them into the premises based on maximum capacity.
Amid the corona crisis, all Malaysians are also required to provide their personal particulars before entering mosques for contact tracing purposes. As the defence minister stressed, the believers will no longer be required to bring their own prayer mats, but disposable prayer mats will be provided by the mosques upon request.
“While the government strongly encourages all Muslims to bring their own prayer mats, it is no longer compulsory,” Ismail said. Currently, all mosques are required to ensure that congregants are positioned a meter apart from each other.
In Malaysia, mosques reopened on June 12, just two days after Malaysia lifted its nationwide lockdown. Even so, non-citizens were not allowed to enter mosques amid rising infections. In fact, even in August, around a quarter of total cases had involved foreigners who mostly work in Malaysia.
Malaysia’s decision to ban foreigners drew criticism from two religious leaders who said that it bordered on xenophobia, noting that Islam does not condone discrimination.
As of August 25, Malaysia has recorded a total of 9,285 COVID-19 cases, the death toll stands at 125 so far.