Avoid large religious gatherings abroad, says S'pore Mufti

Mosques islandwide are currently closed for two weeks to prevent the coronavirus from spreading any further in religious institutions here.
Mosques islandwide are currently closed for two weeks to prevent the coronavirus from spreading any further in religious institutions here.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Muslims here have been urged by Singapore's highest Islamic authority to avoid large religious gatherings overseas in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus and not endanger others.

In a post on the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) Facebook page yesterday, Mufti Nazirudin Mohd Nasir said that Muslims here should play their part and not attend such gatherings which have caused widespread infection of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

"I hear that some foreign religious organisers say that they fear God more than viruses and therefore, they continue with gatherings," said Dr Nazirudin. "This is not the time to be senseless and irresponsible. I would like to be absolutely clear."

From Feb 27 to March 1, more than 16,000 devotees had gathered at the Masjid Jamek Sri Petaling in Kuala Lumpur. This gathering, believed to be for followers of the Tablighi Jama'at, a Muslim missionary movement, has since turned into a large cluster after hundreds of its attendees were infected with the Covid-19 virus.

At least five Singaporeans who returned from this gathering have tested positive for Covid-19. So far, 101 Singaporeans have been identified as having attended the gathering in Malaysia.

Mosques islandwide are currently closed for two weeks to prevent the coronavirus from spreading any further in religious institutions here.

Dr Nazirudin said in the Facebook post that Muslims should be responsible and not be reckless by attending such events.

"I would caution our community against going to such gatherings. You are part of a responsible and sensible community. Please play your part," he said.

Hariz Baharudin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 20, 2020, with the headline 'Avoid large religious gatherings abroad, says S'pore Mufti'. Print Edition | Subscribe