This is to update the community on the lockdown and the forthcoming plans for the easing of restrictions, as early as next month.
Before that we would like to thank our community during these testing times, not only for their patience and sacrifice in adhering to the lockdown rules but also for continuing to support the masjid financially.
We also thank all those involved with the Madrassa – teachers, parents and of course, children – in adapting to a different learning environment. We would like to thank our Imaam, Maulana Suleman. He has steadfastly and tirelessly strived to provide pastoral and spiritual nourishment throughout these difficult times, with audio recordings in lieu of Jumma bayaan and daily booster sessions during Ramadan. The latter are still available in the “News” part of the website. In due course they will be moved to another part of the website, to listen to later.
Our masjids remain closed to the public during the lockdown and we know how much pain this has caused the community, especially for those people for whom the five daily prayers are an integral part of their daily life.
There are indications from the government however, that as part of phase 3 of easing the lockdown restrictions, places of worship will gradually be allowed to open, whilst ensuring that the public health advice is followed.
The safety of our staff, attendees and community remains our top priority and the re-opening will be gradual and undertaken as safely as possible in line with prevailing rules and practices. We are actively engaging with the relevant authorities, at a local and national level, to ensure that our re-opening does not breach the prevailing rules. The Muslim Council of Britain has prepared a detailed re-opening briefing paper for mosques, a link to which is provided at the bottom. It is a good starting point.
We must keep in mind that as the country is coming out of the lockdown, the rate of infection (some 8,000 daily) is nearly the same as that prior to the lockdown. Second spikes are occurring in other countries that came out of lockdown too quickly and we are likely to experience that in the UK too, especially in light of the recent behaviour of some in the wider population, as seen on TV, travelling to beauty spots, parks and visiting beaches etc.
The re-opening process will be necessarily complex, involving many factors – and we must be clear –it is likely to be a slow and measured process. We will only succeed with the support and cooperation of the community. It is vital that we remain alert and vigilant and do not put our staff and community at risk by ensuring that the mosque does not become a focal point for any re-infection. Hence we must be vigilant against the threat of a “super spreader” incident where one infected person goes on to infect many people, locally and nationally. The new track and trace system will be able to pinpoint sources of infection within metres. Our masjids must not become such sources.
We have set about creating an action plan based on risk assessment, guidance, common sense and practical considerations. The plan will be modified as needed, in light of experience and the extent to which guidelines are followed.
The action plan involves allowing 5 times daily prayers and controlled, multiple Friday prayers. Currently the main points of the action plan are:
The restrictions call for King St mosque (Tan Bank will remain closed for the moment) to open 20 minutes before each of the five daily prayers and to close 15 minutes after they conclude. Please do any nawafil prayers at home. Do not linger after prayers or touch any of the Qu’rans.
Friday sermons and prayers are to last no longer than 20 minutes. The bayaan will be broadcast as currently. There will be at least 2 jamaat, but this may need to be increased to 3 or even 4, depending on how many spaces are available once social distance marking of safs(rows) has taken place and availability of Imaams as well as level of attendees.
In terms of access on Friday, logistics are being worked out and further details will be forthcoming. Basically, numbers will be restricted at the point of entry for each jamaat and once the maximum reached, the entry closed until all attendees from the previous jamaat have left. Further guidance on timings will be forthcoming. It is intended that the main gates remain locked and entry be via the side opening.
To make this work we will need male and female volunteers for each jamaat to ensure compliance, so please come forward if you are able to help.
Until we re-open, we urge the community to continue to follow government guidelines and continue to pray at home. Please do not be tempted to go against the guidelines, nor our action plan, once it is finalised, as ultimately, we will only be putting each other and our loved ones at risk. Please always remember who you are – as mentioned in [Qu’ran 3:110]
“You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah….”.
We pray Allah keeps every member of the community safe so that we may once again enjoy each other’s company in the future – soon Inshallah.
We thank the community for their patience & co-operation.
Any questions? Please email email@example.com
The Trustees and Imaam
Telford Central Mosque