For many months, mosques across Bristol closed their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Though mosques in the city have been allowed to open for congregation, community leaders said they would stay closed for at least two weeks to protect the community due to the recent spike in the COVID-19 infections.
“The statistics on Covid cases at home, in hospital and deaths are extremely high at this moment which presents a very worrying status for Bristol,” powerful statement released by the Council of Bristol Mosques explained, Bristol Post reported.
“The proportion of these cases from amongst the BME (black and minority ethnic) community is staggeringly high.
“Some areas in Bristol are more infected than others but as people are able to move around, this results in further spread especially when asymptomatic.”
The mosques that agreed to remain closed include, Greenbank Road Mosque, Al Baseera, Easton Jamia Masjid, Hazrat Bilal Centre, Central Jamia Mosque, Hosseinieh Foundation, Shah Jalal, Bristol Jamia Mosque, Shahporan, DOLMA, Assahaba, Quran Academy, Faizan E Madina, Jalalabad, Tawfik Masjid, Turkish Centre, Madani Masjid and Al Huda.
The statement by the Council of Bristol Mosques stressed the importance of protecting lives in Islam.
“Islam urges Muslims to protect both personal and public health,” the statement read.
“We have all suffered a lot, we have all sacrificed a lot but we could prevent further losses in abiding by social distancing rules in the wake of this deadly disease, in this second wave.”
It said the agreement had “not been taken lightly” but it was “inevitable” due to the risk.
Bristol City Council’s director of public health, Christina Gray, has commended mosque leaders for taking the “painful” step in order to protect lives.
“I would like to thank the Bristol Muslim Community for taking this very important decision not to reopen the mosques while Bristol remains in Tier 3,” she said.
“With local rates remaining high, this decision will undoubtedly save lives and protect the NHS.
“I fully realize how painful it is for the communities not to be able to congregate for prayers and I thank you on behalf of Bristol for what you are doing.
“This is community leadership of the highest order and most noble intent.”