Singapore

Some mosques to increase capacity for Friday prayers to 250: Muis

The capacity for Friday prayers in some mosques here will be increased to 250, as the Islamic governing body looks to gradually double the weekly spaces to 30,000.

Announcing this yesterday, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) also said seniors who wish to visit the mosques can now do so in light of the improving Covid-19 situation here.

From Oct 7, 19 mosques are set to increase their capacity for daily congregational prayers from 50 to 100, in line with national guidelines.

Speaking during a virtual media briefing yesterday on the further easing of restrictions on mosque activities, Muis chief executive Esa Masood said that since Friday prayers resumed in June after the circuit breaker, about 85,000 congregants have attended Friday prayers so far.

"Currently, Muis is able to offer 15,000 spaces each week for Friday prayers at our 64 mosques. We aim to ramp this up gradually to provide 30,000 spaces each week. And this will allow congregants to perform their Friday prayers more regularly," he added.

Muslims here have to reserve their slots through an online booking system.

As part of efforts, some mosques will run a pilot to accommodate up to 250 congregants, split across five separate zones, for each of the three Friday prayer sessions weekly.

The pilot to further raise the Friday prayer capacity is part of progressive reopening plans announced by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong on Saturday last week.

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Mr Esa said Muis will provide more details about the pilot after it gets more clarity and approval from the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

The mosques will be selected based on whether there is high demand for prayer slots, and also if the venue has enough room to split congregants into five zones, he said.

Muis senior director of mosque and community development Helmy Isa also announced that, in line with the national guidelines for the Silver Generation, congregants aged 60 and above who are feeling well may return to the mosques for their religious activities.

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