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A message from Muslim Council of Britain

Muslim Council of Britain

16 March 2020

MCB calls for the suspension of all congregational activities at UK mosques and Islamic centres

The Muslim Council of Britain has today issued a strong recommendation for Muslim communities across the UK to suspend all congregational activities, given the latest advice on the coronavirus (COVID-19).

This unprecedented step comes after public health advice of stopping “non-essential contact” with others and the Chief Scientific Advisers advising the public to avoid gatherings “big or small”.

The obligation for Friday prayers is very important to Muslims up and down the country. Given the overwhelming majority of Muslims identify with their local mosque, its centrality to communal activities should not be understated. The choice therefore to suspend all congregational activities, is not one that has been taken lightly.

The Muslim Council of Britain has taken into account views from all key sources:

– The UK’s Chief Scientific Advisers, who have called for extraordinary social distancing measures.

– The British Islamic Medical Association, representing Muslim medical and health professionals, who bring together a knowledge of communities as well as medical expertise, and who have said it is “unsafe and harmful to continue business as usual, or even with significant adjustments”.

– Many Muslim scholars, consulted through groups such as the British Board of Scholars and Imams, as well as a number of institutions and international bodies, believe that the individual obligation to perform Friday prayers in mosque congregations be temporarily lifted.

Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, stated:

“Muslim communities up and down the country, like others, have been carefully considering how best to continue with our regular social and religious activities, whilst trying to minimise the spread of the coronavirus. With the increasing rate of transmission and the number of deaths, medical and scholarly advice all points towards the limitation of social contact as the key towards reducing the spread.

 “We all have a public duty to protect one another from harm, and it is evident the most effective way to do this now is to avoid social contact as much as possible. This includes all walks of life, whether social, work or the mosque.

 “This leaves members of our society who are vulnerable and socially isolated at risk. Now is the time for British communities to come together to support one another, and work with friends, family and neighbours to ensure no one is left behind.

 “Whether it be at the mosques (particularly Friday prayers) which draw crowds including the elderly, vulnerable and those at high risk, weddings, social events or simple day-to-day activities, it is imperative that this extraordinary step is taken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our communities, and our country as a whole. The MCB is confident that the Muslim community will undertake the difficult measures needed in such unprecedented times and put our trust in Allah.”

ENDSNotes to editors
1. The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.
2. The MCB wrote to all its members on 12 March 2020 with advice to consider advance planning for suspension of congregational services, and circulated guidance to Muslim communities, produced in collaboration with the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA).
3. For further information please contact media@mcb.org.uk

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