Amidst record numbers of COVID-19 infections, the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, has announced that restrictions on surau and mosques in the state will continue, despite calls to fully reopen
In a statement earlier today, 11 July, the Sultan has urged Muslims in Selangor to continue performing their prayers at home and pray that the COVID-19 virus will be eliminated.
Sultan Sharafuddin announced that the decision to continue existing restrictions on surau and mosques was made after considering the current skyrocketing COVID-19 infections in the state.
"His Highness is aware that people have been urging for the full reopening of these houses of worship on social media and via letters, but following the alarming rise in daily cases this is not possible," read the statement issued by the Selangor Royal Office.
The Sultan also stressed that mosques and surau were never fully shuttered, and that the initial decision to limit congregation size was made with a heavy heart.
"(This decision to continue restrictions) is for the safety of the people," the ruler said.
Under current rulings, no more than 200 people are allowed into institutional mosques for obligatory and Friday prayers, and for surau the limit is set at 50 people.
Sultan Sharafuddin also stressed the need to be vigilant, citing a high proportion of deaths due to COVID-19 and previous incidences of clusters related to mosques in the state
"As of the end of June, the number of deaths in Selangor has totalled 1,571. Of this number, a staggering 855 were Malay, totalling more than half of this figure," the statement read.
"During the previous Ramadhan month, when there was a relaxation of the number of people allowed for religious activities at mosques, the infection rate exploded until it caused a few new clusters from these very places of worship in Selangor."
As such, Sultan Sharafuddin expressed his regret that despite strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) implemented, the pandemic has continued to rage unabated.
He adds that the sight of grieving family members not being allowed to visit their loved ones at the hospital, or not being able to participate in funeral rites, is too much for him to bear.
The Sultan promises that once the number of cases subsides, and number of people fully vaccinated increases, they will be reopened
"The outbreak size of COVID-19 is different in every state, and their effects differ greatly. Hence, comparisons cannot be made with the naked eye," continues the statement.
"What more Selangor, which up to this point still post the highest number of new cases and deaths of any state in the country. It has been this way for the past few months."
However, once the number of new cases goes down and more people are vaccinated, the mosques and surau will be reopened as usual.
"Until then, His Royal Highness would like all Muslims in Selangor to continue to fulfil their prayers at home and continue praying for this dangerous pandemic to be wiped out," read the statement.
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