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Coronavirus: Mosques told not to reopen despite government plan

BBC News

A senior Imam has advised mosques not to open until they can hold congregational prayers, despite government plans for places of worship. The government is expected to announce that churches, mosques and synagogues in England can open their doors for private prayer from 15 June. But as mosques are primarily for congregational prayers Muslim leaders have warned the plans lack clarity. Imam Qari Asim said opening them would "cause more challenges". Full services and weddings will still be banned under the measures, which the prime minister is expected to outline to his cabinet on Tuesday.


UK mosque security reviewed after NZ attack

BBC News

Security at UK mosques is to be discussed following the terror attacks in New Zealand that left 49 dead. The Queen said she is "deeply saddened" by the shootings at two Christchurch mosques, with condolences also paid by Prime Minister Theresa May. Senior counter-terrorism experts and the security services will meet the home secretary later to discuss how UK mosques can best be protected. Police patrols around UK mosques are being increased to provide reassurance. The Queen said her "thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders" at this "tragic time".


Birmingham Muslims blame 'far-right extremism' for mosque attacks

Al Jazeera

Four mosques in the English city of Birmingham were damaged overnight, police said on Thursday, in the latest in a spate of Islamophobic attacks in Britain since the murder of 50 people by a white supremacist at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. West Midlands Police said detectives and counterterrorism officers are investigating after windows were smashed at four mosques in Birmingham. The force said in a statement the incidents "are being treated as linked". Officers responded after reports in the early hours of Thursday of a man seen shattering windows with a sledgehammer at one mosque, the police said. "Neighbourhood officers are working closely with mosques around the West Midlands today," the force said.


Muslims stage protest prayers near Rome's Colosseum

Al Jazeera

Hundreds of Muslims offered Friday prayers near Rome's Colosseum to protest at the closure of mosques and other places of worship in Italy. The prayer demonstration was staged over what they see as unfair restrictions on freedom to practise their faith in the country, according to organisers who called the protest following the recent closure of five makeshift mosques on administrative grounds. Some held placards reading "Peace" and "Open the mosques". Many Italian Muslims suspect local authorities are responding to a climate of mistrust caused by recent attacks in Europe by closing down the places of worship on the grounds of easily resolved problems, such as the number of toilets on a particular premises. The protest was organised by a Bangladeshi group, Dhuumcatu, which has complained that Muslim places of worship in Rome have been branded illegal by authorities for various building violations.


Strict measures for Saudi worshippers as mosques reopen

Al Jazeera

Mask-clad worshippers flock to Saudi mosques two months after communal prayers were suspended. Saudi Arabia's mosques have opened their doors to worshippers for the first time in more than two months as the kingdom eased restrictions imposed to combat the novel coronavirus. "It is great to feel the mercy of God and once again call people for prayers at mosques instead of at their homes," Abdulmajeed al-Mohaisen, who issues the call to prayer at Al-Rajhi Mosque, one of the largest in the capital Riyadh, told Reuters news agency on Sunday. Worshippers headed to mosques for dawn prayers amid strict regulations requiring the use of face masks and personal prayer mats, avoiding handshakes and standing at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) apart. The elderly, children below 15 and people with chronic diseases are not permitted.