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Jakarta Post

Jakarta’s Istiqlal Mosque sterilized amid coronavirus threat

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, March 13, 2020   /   06:43 pm
Jakarta’s Istiqlal Mosque sterilized amid coronavirus threat A worker disinfects the praying area of Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta on Friday, March 13, 2020 as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country. (JP/Seto Wardhana )

The management of Jakarta's historic Istiqlal Mosque took several measures on Friday to keep the facility clean amid the threat of the coronavirus. The measures included removing the mosque's prayer rugs, which could contain and transmit the virus, as well as disinfecting the building's interior.

"We heard that in Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam, the virus was transmitted via prayer rugs. So we removed them all. Saudi Arabia is doing the same thing [at the Great Mosque of Mecca]," Istiqlal Mosque grand imam Nasaruddin Umar said.

Read also: COVID-19: Indonesian Mosque Council tells ailing Muslims to pray at home

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and a number of his aides, including Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi and Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto visited the Mosque Friday morning to see how the process was going.

Minister Fachrul Razi suggested that other mosques in the country follow suit to prevent further spread of the deadly coronavirus. However, he emphasized that religious activities in the country would continue to run normally despite the WHO declaring coronavirus a pandemic and urging aggressive action from all countries to fight it.

Read also: Catholic churches across Rome shut due to virus

Friday prayers in all provincial capitals of Iran, which is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, have been halted to contain the virus. Meanwhile Tajikistan, which has no reported cases so far, has suspended Friday prayers, aljazeera.com reported.

"Friday prayer will still be held normally, but we suggest that congregations avoid physical contact while greeting, like handshaking and such," Fachrul said, adding that sick people should stay at home rather than be in the crowd. (vny)