Singapore

More worshippers allowed for Friday prayers at 10 mosques under pilot

Ten mosques will allow 150 worshippers at each Friday prayer session in a pilot programme starting on Nov 13.

The mosques are located across the island - Al-Islah, Al-Istighfar and Darul Ghufran in the east, An-Nur, Assyafaah and Yusof Ishak in the north, Angullia and Sultan in the south, and Al-Khair and Maarof in the west.

The new limit, up from 100 previously, will allow each mosque to serve 450 worshippers across three sessions every Friday - at 12.45pm, 1.45pm and 2.45pm, said the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) yesterday.

The aim is to lift the limit to 250 people at each session by the end of the year, it added. The 150 worshippers at each session will be split into three zones of up to 50 people, which complies with existing Culture, Community and Youth Ministry guidelines.

On Sept 26, Culture, Community and Youth Minister Edwin Tong said that a pilot of worship sessions of up to 250 participants will be conducted from Oct 3 for religious organisations that have safely conducted services for 100 people.

Since Oct 3, all religious organisations have been allowed to conduct services of up to 100 people, with congregants split into zones of up to 50 each.

Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Social and Family Development Minister and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, said the decision to start the pilot was influenced by the low community virus case count.

Congregants entering the mosques under the pilot must check in using the TraceTogether app or token. Such check-ins have been made available at 40 of Singapore's 71 mosques since Oct 23.

"This will be the practice that we want to get our community used to, because when everyone has got a token in the nation, this will become compulsory when we enter certain places," said Mr Masagos on the sidelines of an event to commemorate the birth month of the Prophet Muhammad yesterday.

Muis said using TraceTogether means quicker contact tracing, while also allowing for the localisation of possible infections so mosques will only have to clean and disinfect areas frequented by positive cases. "This allows for faster and safer reopening of mosque premises, and reduces the time to reopen," it said.

Registration for Friday prayers on Nov 13 and 20 at all mosques can be done from 10am on Nov 10 at ourmosques.commonspaces.sg  - THE STRAITS TIMES

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