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March 'Against Coronavirus' in Alexandria, Dar Al-Iftaa Bans Gatherings

March 'Against Coronavirus' in Alexandria, Dar Al-Iftaa Bans Gatherings

Wednesday, 25 March, 2020 - 09:00
Passengers, some of them wearing protective masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), arrive at Luxor International Airport, Egypt (File photo: Reuters)
Cairo- Waleed Abdurrahman

Dozens of people marched the streets of Alexandria against the coronavirus, creating a wave of mockery and ridicule among Egyptians on social media, despite the precautionary measures taken by the government banning any gatherings during the pandemic.

This prompted Dar al-Iftaa, Egypt’s body responsible for issuing religious edicts, to ban all gatherings in the streets.

Dar al-Iftaa issued a brief statement Tuesday warning that “any call for people to gather in the streets anywhere and under any slogan or pretext is a malicious call that is religiously prohibited.”

The statement stressed that it is a “duty” under the Islamic Sharia Law to comply with official decisions to “protect people from epidemics and diseases,” warning that anyone who violates these measures is considered “sinful.”

Notably, Egyptian authorities ban demonstrations or marches without notifying them and acquiring the necessary permits.

Meanwhile, Minister of Endowments, Muhammad Mukhtar Jumaa, vowed Tuesday, “to impose severe penalties” on the imams of mosques in case of violating the ministry’s decision to close mosques throughout the country.

Jumaa stressed that termination of service will be an appropriate penalty for anyone who violates the instructions and measures in these exceptional circumstances.

The Minister suspended an imam and preacher in Beni Suef governorate, south of Cairo, and banned them from giving sermons from the pulpit for a period of three months, for violating the ministry’s order to close mosques.

The Ministry of Endowments announced that all mosques, congregational prayers, and gatherings will be suspended for two weeks to curb the coronavirus spread.

It stressed that mosques will not open even for funeral prayers, adding that the religious and national interest requires the necessity of self-preservation.

Egyptian authorities declared on Tuesday a set of stricter measures to help slow the spread of the virus, including a two-week overnight curfew starting Wednesday. It has also extended a suspension of schools and universities.

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