2021-05-12 00:00:00

Worshippers banned from attending Eid al-Fitr prayers at mosques in Moscow due to Covid-19

Moscow, May 12, Interfax - The Moscow authorities have obliged the Spiritual Muslim Board of Russia to hold celebrations on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, without worshippers at mosques due to coronavirus-related risks.

"The Spiritual Muslim Board of the Russian Federation advises that on May 13, 2021, when Eid lal-Fitr will be celebrated, the Moscow Central Mosque, the Historical Mosque, and the Memorial Mosque will not admit worshippers for the Eid Salah prayer, which will be conducted only in the presence of the clergy of all three mosques and officials of the Central Spiritual Muslim Board of the Russian Federation and will be streamed online," the Muslim spiritual authority said on its website.

Further, in light of the current epidemiological situation in Moscow, an official letter signed by the head of the city's department for national policy and interregional ties, Vitaly Suchkov, has been forwarded to Chairman of the Spiritual Muslim Board of Russian Ravil Gainutdin, notifying him that "the ban on holding public events in the city of Moscow remains in effect."

Apart from that, a letter has been received from the first deputy director of Moscow's department for regional security and the fight against corruption, Vasily Oleinik, saying that in the event of public celebrations of Eid al-Fitr, "organizers and other participants may be held to account in accordance with the established procedure."

Due to the existing risk that a large number of worshippers could contract the infection during the prayer and since worshippers may face administrative sanctions if the current coronavirus-related restrictions are violated, the Spiritual Muslim Board has adopted a "difficult, but justified decision" to conduct the Eid Salah prayer only in the presence of the clergy and its officials.

"The Spiritual Muslim Board of the Russian Federation calls on all worshippers to stay home during the holiday and to celebrate it within their families. Everyone will be able to take part in the sermon via a live broadcast," it said.