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Sudan censures mosques for conducting Friday prayers despite coronavirus ban

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Muslims stand outside the Grand Mosque during Friday prayers in Khartoum November 9, 2012. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah Photo)
April 18, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese government deplored that several mosques in Khartoum state ignored the risk of coronavirus and held Friday prayer in spite of a ministerial decision banning it.

Sudan has reported 32 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including five patients have died. The all the cases are in Khartoum state except one in the Nile River state.

In line with the government efforts to contain the respiratory disease, the minister of religious affairs Wednesday imposed a ban and called on worshippers to avoid mosques on Friday.

Speaking at a daily media briefing on the health situation in the country, Faisal Mohamed Saleh Information Minister pointed out that Friday prayers were held in some mosques that did not comply with the ministerial ban.

Saleh said his government has no political or religious battle when it took this restrictive measure.

"We do not have any battle with anyone. Our battle is with the coronavirus. All the measures we take, including a complete lockdown, and calls to not to pray in mosques, have one purpose which is to preserve their lives and their safety".

"The prayer rugs in the mosques are a good vector for coronavirus transmission. During prayer, worshipers put their face and nose on the rugs and their hands also. So, one infected person in the mosque will transmit it to a large number of people," he further said.

Various Islamist groups including the banned National Congress Party of Omer al-Bashir jointly organized protests denouncing the government’s failure to resolve the economic crisis.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok dismissed the governor of Khartoum state for refusing to enforce a government’s decision to suspend Friday prayers in the mosques.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt and many other Islamic states suspended worshipers from conducting their five daily prayers and the weekly Friday prayer in the mosques to limit the spread of coronavirus.

(ST)

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