Mosques remain closed for another week

Azlan Othman

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has consented for the temporary closure of mosques, suraus and religious halls to be extended for another week starting Subuh or dawn prayer today until Isyak prayer on April 13.

This was said by Minister of Religious Affairs Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awang Othman yesterday.

The decision was made following a meeting held last Saturday based on the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) advice as dangers of COVID-19 still persist. It is also in line with the State Mufti’s Fatwa on the obligation to limit the outbreak.

Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin said the Brunei Islamic Religious Council analysed three options given by the MoH.

The first option is to open places of worship once the nation is wholly free from the outbreak with no new cases for 28 days.

The second option is based on last limited spread involving the last family of Case 131 which falls on April 15.

The third option is by fulfilling health requirements. This involves guidelines to clean mosque, suraus and religious halls continuously, and spacing congregants as permissible by Syarak Law.

Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin said the council decided that the mosques, suraus and religious halls will open when there are no more health risks to congregants and the public.

Minister of Religious Affairs Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awang Othman. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR