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Masjid Opening During Lockdown Matter to Continue in Pretoria High Court

Apr 23, 2020

The matter regarding the constitutionality of the COVID-19 lockdown is expected to continue in the Pretoria High Court on Thursday.

The Applicants, Mohammad and two others are challenging the President of South Africa arguing that the closing of the masaajid is in breach of the fundamental rights of South Africans in Chapter two of the constitution.

On Tuesday, Advocate for the applicant Feroz Boda argued that his client had indicated in his affidavit that to lift the sin from the community, a small number of people must be allowed to attend the masjid indicating there would be limitations so as to not breach the social distancing rules.

He also argued that besides congregational prayer which is compulsory on every Muslim, the masjid also serves an important role in social issues including initiating feeding schemes and counselling for family problems and abused victims.

“He says that there is a compulsory obligation on the community to keep a mosque open at all times and that the entire community is sinful for not establishing a congregational prayers in the mosque and that the minimum requirement to lift the sin from the community is four people for the Friday prayer and three people for all other prayers.”

However, Advocate for the United Ulama Council of South Africa (UUCSA) Azhar Bham says there is no barrier relating to the use of the facility for the purposes of social services.

Advocate Bham says there is no need to go to court to initiate a feeding scheme. 

“There is nothing in preventing somebody who wants to setup feeding schemes from doing so. They have been doing so, lots of people have been doing so since day one of the regulations. So lets not conflate issues in the present case.”

Judge Brenda Neukircher earlier during the proceedings interjected Boda saying while the government is prohibiting congregations at Masaajid, it is not stopping Muslims from reading salaah at home.

Faizel Patel

(Twitter: @FaizelPatel143)

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