UK Muslim leaders urge mosques to remain closed until congregational prayers can resume 

Mosques and other places of worship in England will reopen for private prayer from June 15. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 07 June 2020

UK Muslim leaders urge mosques to remain closed until congregational prayers can resume 

  • Muslim leaders have urged the government to release clear guidelines to protect the safety of their congregations

LONDON: Muslim leaders in England have called for mosques to remain closed despite the government saying places of worship could open for “individual prayer.”
The plans to reopen churches, mosques and synagogues have been criticised by imams, who say they fail to take into account that prayers at mosques almost always take place in groups.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce on Tuesday the easing of restrictions for places of worship. Private prayer can take place from June 15, but weddings and other group activities will be restricted until at least July 4.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

Imam Qari Asim, chairman of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB), warned that taking this approach could “cause more challenges” due to the congregational nature of worship in mosques.
Imam Asim called on mosques not to reopen until it is safe to do so and they are able to hold congregational prayers.
“The fundamental difference between mosques and some other places of worship is that mosques are first and foremost used for congregational prayers,” he said.
“Individual prayers can be performed anywhere, primarily at homes. Accordingly, opening the mosques on 15 June will cause more challenges for mosques and imams as the expectation from the community will be to resume collective worship.”
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) also expressed concern over the viability and safety of the government’s plan.
“Mosques are provisioned primarily for congregational worship, so there is currently significant uncertainty and concern from mosque leaders on how the new regulations can actually be implemented,” Harun Khan, secretary general of the MCB, said.
A statement released by the MCB warned of “significant uncertainty” surrounding the latest plans and urged the government to “give clear and unambiguous guidance to plan effectively to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone.”
The British government has prioritised the reopening of places of worship. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Their contribution to the common good of our country is clear, as places of solace, comfort, stability and dignity. And the need for them is all the greater as we weather the uncertainties of the pandemic.”
Mosques and other places of worship across the UK closed in March as coronavirus infections and fatalities in the country surged.
People of all faiths were forced to drastically change the way they celebrated religious holidays, with British Muslims embracing technology and coming up with creative ways to capture the spirit of Ramadan while under a strict lockdown.


US to pay over $1 bn for 100 mln doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

Updated 43 min 2 sec ago

US to pay over $1 bn for 100 mln doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

  • The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J
  • This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country

WASHINGTON: The United States government will pay Johnson & Johnson over $1 billion for 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine, its latest such arrangement as the race to tame the pandemic intensifies, the drugmaker said on Wednesday.
It said it would deliver the vaccine to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on a not-for-profit basis to be used after approval or emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
J&J has already received $1 billion in funding from the US government — BARDA agreed in March to provide that money for the company to build manufacturing capacity for more than 1 billion doses of the experimental vaccine.
The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J. Including the first $1 billion deal with the USgovernment, the price would be slightly higher than the $19.50 per dose that the United States is paying for the vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc. and German biotech BioNTech SE.
The US government may also purchase an additional 200 million doses under a subsequent agreement. J&J did not disclose that deal’s value.
J&J plans to study a one- or two-dose regimen of the vaccine in parallel later this year. A single-shot regimen could allow more people to be vaccinated with the same number of doses and would sidestep issues around getting people to come back for their second dose.
This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country. Talks are underway with the European Union, but no deal has yet been reached.
J&J’s investigational vaccine is currently being tested on healthy volunteers in the United States and Belgium in an early-stage study.
There are currently no approved vaccines for COVID-19. More than 20 are in clinical trials.