Asia's mosques deserted as coronavirus keeps Ramadan faithful away


  • World
  • Monday, 27 Apr 2020

FILE PHOTO: A Muslim devotee recites the Koran at the Star Mosque during Ramadan in Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 26, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

(Reuters) - It is a Ramadan like never before for Muslims across Asia as mosques that would normally be packed for prayers are deserted and in some places locked up as governments enforced measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

At Indonesia's main Istiqlal mosque, the biggest in Southeast Asia, the call to evening Maghib prayers and a message asking people to pray at home echo in the empty hall - a stark contrast to last year when thousands thronged in to pray.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, has confirmed 8,882 cases of the coronavirus and at least 743 people have died.

In Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, the gates of the Mayor Mohammad Hanif Jame Mosque were padlocked.

In the Pakistani city of Karachi, police patrolled outside the Faizan-e-Madina, one of the city's biggest mosques, to stop worshippers from gathering and no one was performing Taraweeh, a special prayer during Ramadan.

Pakistan has reported more than 11,000 cases of the coronavirus, including 237 deaths.

In India, only five worshippers joined an evening prayer on the first day of Ramadan in New Delhi's imposing Jama Masjid as the call to prayers drifted out over the deserted courtyard.

Last year, worshippers spilled onto the ornate front terrace of the red-brick 17th century mosque.

India has reported 26,496 cases of the coronavirus and 824 deaths.

Health experts have warned that the rapid spread of the coronavirus in poor, densely populated parts of South Asia - home to a fifth of the world's population - could easily overwhelm weak public health systems.

(Writing by Robert Birsel; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In World

At least 19 killed in bus crash in central Mexico
Three killed in Kosovo bus shooting
U.S. to revoke terrorist designation for Colombia's FARC, add breakaway groups
'We need to work': Hundreds of migrants form new U.S.-bound caravan in Mexico
Ethiopia restricts information sharing about war
Dutch PM Rutte orders nighttime lockdown to fight COVID-19 surge
Putin gets Armenian and Azeri leaders to agree to work on defining border
U.S. says 'all options' on the table over Russian troop buildup near Ukraine
Russia criticises U.S. over threat of escalation with Iran at IAEA
Iran nuclear chief says Vienna talks will be about U.S. return to 2015 deal

Others Also Read


Vouchers