Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic places of worship have remained closed for prayer in congregation, with restrictions now easing Raza Jamia Masjid, Accrington, has been identified nationally for their proactive response.
Cllr Miles Parkinson OBE, Leader of Hyndburn Council praised the efforts of the Mosque community throughout the pandemic and is encouraging other places of worship to follow their lead:
“I would like to congratulate the Raza Jamia Masjid community, not only for their quick action at the start of this pandemic, by being one of the first places to close to gatherings, but for their ongoing response throughout. They have adapted, served the community and are now leading the way on the road to recovery by setting an excellent example on being covid-secure.
Leaders from the Muslim community throughout the UK have been seeking guidance on reopening safely from them as they prepare to welcome the ‘new normal’. Setting an excellent standard, with the safety of the community as priority, the combined effort of volunteers and leaders is clear for all to see.”
Jawid Hussain, Founder and Patron of Raza Jamia Masjid, said:
“Before lockdown this mosque was serving the whole Hyndburn community and beyond, not just the Muslim community. This facility was being used for conferences, business meetings, educational workshops and everything from first aid training to functions. On a usual day over 100 people would come to worship and we would often see over 1,000 people attend for special occasions.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced us to close for worship, gatherings and social activities however we have remained open 24 hours a day for emergencies, for those who need food, medicine or urgent support. We have offered online services, remained active on social media and in some cases had upwards of 5,000 people attending programmes ‘virtually’.
We opened initially for individual worship and new guidance means we are now opening for group worship. We quickly put many measures in place to ensure the safety of the community including signage, sanitising stations and very clear guidelines.
Several mosques throughout the UK have called us and want help with their own safety measures after seeing our efforts on social media. We have had people visiting from Birmingham to have a look, I have been personally to Leeds to give assistance and many other cities and towns have been in touch with us. Everyone wants to do their best and protect each other from the threat of Covid-19.”
Cllr Munsif Dad BEM JP, Lancashire County Councillor for Accrington West and Oswaldtwistle Central said:
“This is very much an icon mosque and I could not be prouder to be part of its community, the national recognition it is receiving is a testament to all the individuals involved. Hyndburn has really pulled together during this time of crisis and that unity has made us stronger.
Working personally within the Hyndburn Hub I have seen the dedication of volunteers from all political parties, faiths and backgrounds working together for the good of all Hyndburn residents. All places of worship have all suffered great loss throughout this pandemic, I want to urge our wider community to support their local places of worship, donate when they can and help them on their steps to recovery.
Will we be going back to normal soon? The answer is no. We need to adapt, follow the measures in place and put safety first. I am very confident that our community has adapted to facilitate safe worship, that people will adhere, and I would like everyone to know it is safe to visit once again, the doors are open.”
“We are encouraging people to come and have a look, if you are unsure or your family are wary about returning then you are more than welcome to visit, ask questions and please go and share this information with you family and friends. We are open 24/7 and there is always someone here to help.”
From 4 July, gatherings of more than 30 people will be permitted but only in certain public places as set out in law. This will include places of worship and their surrounding premises. There are however activities where it is advisable to restrict numbers to 30 within a place of worship for public health reasons.
Whilst engaging in an activity in the place of worship or surrounding grounds, all parties should adhere to social distancing guidelines. From 4 July, 2 metres or 1 metre with risk mitigation (where 2 metres is not viable) between households are acceptable.
For full guidance on reopening a place of worship please visit gov.uk