Gazipur Mayor Zahangir orders mosques reopened defying government curbs

  • Gazipur Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-04-28 23:13:11 BdST

Gazipur Mayor Zahangir Alam has announced his decision to reopen mosques in the city corporation areas to worshipers during Ramadan despite strict restrictions imposed by the government to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

He made the announcement in a video posted on Facebook on Tuesday following the reopening of some readymade garment factories over a month after the entire country was put on lockdown.

Gazipur, an industrial hub, is one of the mostly affected districts with 318 confirmed coronavirus cases. The reopening of the factories has also raised concerns over a larger outbreak.

But the mayor said, “Only a few areas in the metropolitan area have coronavirus patients. The rest of the cases have been reported in other Upazilas.”    

“As the garments have reopened, the Muslim worshippers do not need to be bound by restrictions. They will be able to take part in  Juma prayers and Taraweeh prayers. There will be no obstruction from the city corporation,” he said.

The city corporation will be cooperative if the Muslims of the areas that have no confirmed coronavirus patients want to offer prayers at mosques, Zahangir said.

Zahangir, who won the election in 2018 with the ruling Awami League’s ticket, said residents should also be vigilant to prevent suspected patients from entering the areas.

“The garment factories in Gazipur and the commercial entities in the surrounding areas have reopened. So it will not be right to confine the people of this area anymore so that they can go about doing their job, like harvesting paddy,” the mayor said.     

Gazipur Deputy Commissioner SM Tarikul Islam said he heard about Zahangir’s announcement on reopening the mosques for Juma and Taraweeh prayers.

“But these are his own comments, not the government’s,” Tarikul said.

“The instructions from the religious affairs ministry on prayers at mosques are still in force. I haven’t received anything after these,” he added.

The government has decided not to allow more than 12 people at mosques for Ramadan evening prayers this year as the coronavirus outbreak continues to escalate. The 12 will include senior clerics and other mosque officials.

The restrictions on gathering for other prayers in mosques will remain in force.

Five is the most number of people allowed to pray in mosques. As many as 10 men can offer Juma prayers on Fridays.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has also urged the Muslim citizens to offer prayers at home during the pandemic.

“Allah will surely hear us,” she had said before Ramadan.