UPDATED: July 19, 2020

Bismillah, Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem, In the Name of Allah Most Gracious, Most Merciful

The COVID-19 pandemic remains an active phenomenon globally with key regions experiencing an alarming surge in positive cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. South Florida is among the worldwide hotspots. As this advisory is being written, Florida has now crossed the 350,000 mark in confirmed cases. Because of this stark rise in COVID-19 cases, especially in South Florida, the Imam Council has updated its previous advisory after careful deliberation with our local medical experts and community leaders.

Our Tricounty elected officials and leaders are scaling back certain portions of the partial reopening plan due to the recent Covid surge. The CDC guidelines of social distancing, wearing masks when venturing out, and hand hygiene remain in full effect. Moreover, the latest official orders from Dade, Boward, and Palm Beach Counties mandate that all residents and visitors must wear masks in public places. These measures are based on the recommendations of the CDC and our local health experts, and they are critical in our efforts to limit the spread of the virus. We pray that this recent surge in cases and hospitalizations slows, and we pray all of our community members remain safe and healthy, God-willing.

Our updated recommendations are as follows:

RECOMMENDATION 1: Given the recent alarming rise in Covid cases in South Florida, we recommend the Islamic Centers and mosques to strongly consider suspending Friday congregational prayers for a two-week period (including Eid) and reassess the status of the current surge crisis at the end of that period.

RECOMMENDATION 2: For those centers and mosques who choose not to suspend congregational prayers at this time, we strongly urge that they, as well as all centers, ensure that these strict guidelines are followed:
Mosque management should ensure and strictly enforce the following:

  1. All attendees must wear masks; this is the current mandate from our Tricounty officials.
  2. All attendees must bring their own prayer rugs.
  3. All attendees must observe social distancing as defined by the CDC – maintain safe distance of 6 feet from each other; no hugging or handshaking, touching of any sort; this must be upheld in the mosque or Center as well as in the outside areas such as the parking lots or patios.
  4. Mosque Management must limit attendee capacity to ensure social distancing can be safely practiced. Clearly mark the areas where congregants should stand to make this process easier.
  5. Women, children, seniors/elders (65 years or older), individuals with significant medical problems and/or those who are immunocompromised, should not come to the mosque at this time.
  6. Suggested temperature checks on arrival and entrance to the mosque should be performed, especially for larger congregations.
  7. Anyone who is sick and/or with symptoms such as cough, fever, headache, or sore throat should not come to the mosque.While we as South Florida Muslim community face this challenge, we pledge to join together in support, prayers, and seek mercy from Allah to protect us, our families, our country, and the world from this global pandemic.

    Joint Statement Participants:
    Imam Nasir Ahmad (Masjid Al-Ansar)
    Br. Junaid Akhtar (Baitul Mukarram)
    Sheikh Khushtar Noorani (Al-Amin Center of Florida)
    Br. Imran Ali (Masjid Al-Ihsaan)
    Sheikh Ali Barakat (American Islamic Center of Florida)
    Sheikh Tariq Chebbi (Miami Downtown Masjid)
    Br. Bilal Karakira (Islamic School of Miami)
    Br. Shakeel Hye, (Islamic Center of Weston)
    Imam Mohammed Jaffer (Islamic Jafferia Association)
    Imam Fathi Khalfi, (Islamic Center of Boca Raton)
    Mufti Izhar Khan, (Jamaat ul Mumineen)
    Imam Naseeb Khan, (Nurul Islam)
    Imam Muhammad Lunat (Muslim Community of Palm Beach County)
    Mufti Sultan Mohiuddin, (Islamic Foundation of South Florida)
    Imam Adrian Rajab, (Masjid Alhijra)
    Imam Hasan Sabri, (Islamic Center of South Florida)
    Imam Abdul Hamid Samra, (MCA of South Florida)

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rana elsergany
Author: rana elsergany