Paris Grand Mosque says expecting Eid prayers is 'unrealistic'

Eid prayers 'unrealistic' for Paris Grand Mosque despite easing of lockdown restrictions
2 min read
20 May, 2020
After France's supreme administrative court ordered the government to lift a ban on religious gatherings, the Paris Grand Mosque is still reluctant to open its doors for Eid prayers.
The Paris Grand Mosque is the oldest mosque in metropolitan France [Getty]
The Paris Grand Mosque on Wednesday said Eid prayers are an "unrealistic" prospect despite an order stating the French government must lift its ban on religious gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, the Council of State, France's supreme administrative court, ordered the government to lift the ban on gatherings in houses of worship, provided sanitary measures are observed.

The council argued the ban was disproportionate, as gatherings less than 10 people are permitted in other public places. The government must amend its decree no later than eight days.

In a statement shared on social media, Grand Mosque of Paris head Chems-eddine Hafiz said the mosque was coordinating with officials to examine solutions that would "guarantee a return to normal, all the while preserving the health and life of all citizens".

"That said, regarding the critera set by the Council of State, [...] and seeing the still very fragile health situation, it is for the time being unrealistic to raise the idea of gatherings for the Eid-Al-Fitr prayer," read the statement.

"Consquently, it is fundamental that mosque leaders prepare from now on for the day where group prayers will be possible again - albeit strongly limited in numbers of worshippers," the letter added.

The statement included a list of measures French mosques are encouraged to follow, should they reopen again.

These include regular disinfections of the premises, requiring worshippers to wear face masks and making hand sanitisers available at mosque entryways.

The measures also require the closure of communal ablution areas (encouraging Muslims to perform them at home instead), and that congregants adhere to mandatory 4-meter social distancing, as well as bringing their own prayer mats.

"I count on each person's patience, civic sense and responsibility," concluded Hafiz's letter.

The Paris Grand Mosque is the oldest mosque in metropolitan France

The exact date of Eid Al-Fitr, the Islamic celebration marking the end of Ramadan, is yet to be confirmed. It is projected to take place on either Saturday or Sunday.

Many Muslim countries have imposed lockdown measures and curfews for Eid Al-Fitr in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

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