Ismail Sabri: Foreigners can pray at mosques across Malaysia starting Sept 1

Malaysian Muslims observe social distancing while performing Aidiladha prayers at the Putra Mosque in Putrajaya July 31, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Malaysian Muslims observe social distancing while performing Aidiladha prayers at the Putra Mosque in Putrajaya July 31, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — The authorities will allow foreigners to perform congregational prayers at mosques nationwide from September 1 as long as they observe physical distancing and the standard operating procedures (SOP) stipulated by the Health Ministry.

Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob told his bi-weekly Covid-19 press conference today that the government has received many appeals and requests to allow foreign Muslims to fulfill their religious obligations.

“We have agreed to allow foreigners working here to perform congregational prayers starting September 1. However, they must still register and the mosque committee has the final say in allowing them onto the premises based on the mosque’s capacity.

“If it is already full, the mosque has the right to deny entry. But generally, we will allow them to perform their prayers there, but they must still observe the SOP and wear face masks,” said Ismail Sabri.

Furthermore, Muslim faithful are no longer required to bring their own prayer mats (sejadah) to the mosque.

The defence minister said that after discussions with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Islamic Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri and the Health Ministry, the government has decided to ease SOP rules.

However, Ismail Sabri still encouraged the Muslim congregation to bring their own prayer mats as it is more hygienic in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“There will be no compromise on face masks since we have compromised on prayer mats. Mosques can sell face masks for RM1 each at the entrance in case anyone forgets to bring their own.

“They can also sell paper to act as disposable prayer mats if they wish,” said Ismail Sabri.

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