Foreigners able to pray in Malaysian mosques starting Sept 1

Pakistani Muslims offer Friday prayers at Badshahi Mosque during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, June 2, 2017. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 25, 2020, The Star. Foreigners will soon be allowed to perform prayers at mosques nationwide from Sept 1, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, The Star reported.

The Senior Minister of Security said foreigners must also adhere to the same strict Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) such as physical distancing that applies during congregational prayers at mosques.

“The special ministers’ meeting has given the green light for foreigners who are working here to perform prayers at mosques from Sept 1 onwards. They must register themselves before entering mosques, and its committee can still decide whether to allow people in based on capacity.

“Whether there is space or not, it is for the mosque to judge and decide on the number of people that can enter.

“But generally, foreigners are allowed to pray from Sept 1. They must observe the SOPs and wear their face masks, ” said Ismail Sabri at a press conference Tuesday (Aug 25).

“If it is already full, the mosque has the right to deny entry. But generally, we will allow them to perform their prayers there, ” said Ismail Sabri.

Previously, the government allowed Muslims to attend congregational prayers as part of the recovery movement control order (MCO) orders.

However, the government’s decision to restrict foreigners to take part in the prayers, allegedly due to the higher number of Covid-19 cases among them, was met with controversy.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri also said Muslims will not need to bring their own ‘sejadah’ (prayer mats) to the mosques during prayers.

Prior to this, those who did not come with their own sejadah were strictly not allowed to pray in the mosques as part of Covid-19 protection measures.

“I would like to thank many of the mosque committees for strictly adhering to the government’s SOPs. We’ve seen how those who didn’t come to mosques with their own sejadah are turned away.

“The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of religious affairs Datuk Dr Zulkifli Al-Bakri, however, brought up many appeals from the people.

“The special minister’s meeting has taken into consideration the views and agreed to allow those who do not have their prayer mats to enter the mosques.

“However, facemasks are still mandatory and we will not compromise on that, since we have already relaxed the rules on prayer mats, ” said Ismail Sabri.

He added that mosques can also opt to sell facemasks at the ceiling price of RM1 to those who do not have masks.

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