The government’s directive prohibiting congregational prayers in tomorrow’s Idd-ul Hajj has received mixed reactions from the Muslim faithful.
On Wednesday the county Covid-19 response committee meeting that was attended by SUPKEM national organizing secretary Abdullahi Salat resolved that there will be no prayers in the open grounds as has been the norm.
The committee issued guidelines to be observed in the mosques during the Idd-ul Haji celebrations following an upsurge in cases of people testing positive to the virus.
The committee is co-chaired by the county commissioner Meru Mwangi and area Governor Ali Korane.
Salat who is a member of the committee while supporting the directive said that ‘we are living in extraordinary times that calls for extraordinary measures’.
The cleric regretted that although the day was important to the Muslim faithful, ‘it won’t be wise to put the lives of thousands of faithful at risk’.
In a joint statement read by Garissa county secretary Abdi Sheikh the committee unanimously agreed that the three should be no public gathering during tomorrow’s prayers and those who contravene the directive risk prosecution.
Other guidelines include keeping the 1.5 – 2m social distance, ensuring children below 13 years and elderly above 58 years especially those with underlying health conditions do not attend the prayers, carrying own prayer mats and use hand sanitizers before and after prayers among others.
Those opposed to the directive among them Amina Mohamed said that the decision was ‘not well thought’.
“What could have been so difficult with the government allowing us to congregate and pray while we observe the ministry of health protocols. This is a very important day for the Muslims and it happens once in a year,” Amina said.
“I know many faithful are prepared to converge tomorrow. The best thing the government should have done is to mark the field to allow social distancing,” she added.
Another faithful Ahmed Hussein said that already people are aware of the dangers posed by the disease and understand measures they are supposed to take to avoid contacting the virus.
“I can tell you people know what is expected of them when congregating for prayers. The government should have allowed us to observe this important day as has been the tradition,” he noted.
The county has so far recorded 64 cases of covid-19 and one death.
By Jacob Songok