The new edict was issued yesterday (May 3).
Chatchai Promlert, Permanent Secretary for Interior Office of the Permanent Secretary, issued a notice marked “urgent” yesterday (May 3) informing people of the Sheikhul Islam’s re-issued edict.
Mr Chatchai’s notice, calling for all Muslims to observe the measures as given by the Sheikhul Islam, known in Thai as the Chula Ratchamontri, was shared by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department today (May 4).
In the notice issued yesterday, Aziz Phitakkumpon, the Sheikhul Islam of Thailand, pointed out that an edict issued by his office on March 25 had instructed Muslims to refrain from observing Friday prayers at mosques from March 27 onwards to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Pray at home instead,” said that notice.
However, the edict issued yesterday (May 3) noted, “Right now, the number of infected people is decreasing because there is a government policy that is proactive and cooperates with people and is relevant. This includes Muslim people, who are to follow the measures in every area.
“So it is reasonable to relax the requirement [and allow people] to attend prayers on Fridays, which is still in accordance with the [measures issued under the] state of emergency declared on May 1,” it added.
“Provincial Islamic committees are to discuss this with Imams at local mosques and with provincial governors in order to disseminate this information to the public, along with a request for cooperation from Muslims in every province,” the edict said.
If mosques are to resume their Friday prayers, the prayers are to be no more than 20 minutes long, and mosque administrators or health officials are to check every person entering the mosque for elevated body temperatures.
All people entering the mosque are to cleanse their hands with alcohol-based sanitiser at the door, the edict issued yesterday added.
“Also, no waters are to be shared during ceremonies and the mosque floor must be cleaned every time after people have finished their Friday prayers.
“Do not turn on the air conditioning, or open the window or curtains to allow for airflow. Mark spaces 1.5 to 2 meters apart [for people to use when praying]. And, control the flow of people when they enter and leave.
“People who join [mass prayers], must be clean from the house, use a private prayer mat brought from their home, use alcohol gel to clean their hands, wear a facial mask at all times while they are praying.
“Under the guideline, Muslims are advised to avoid touching, hugging and cheek kisses during religious rites and instead use the greeting of raising their hands.
“Women and children are banned from praying at the mosque. Anyone who has fever, cough or runny nose, do not come to join the prayers.
“Muslims are also advised to avoid attending any gatherings of many people in the same place. Also, it is also advised to avoid holding any special Ramadan gatherings.
“These measures are suitable to prevent harm to people’s lives and to avoid harm to the community. The presidents of provincial islamic committees are to inform the leaders of mosques of these measures,” the edict added.
“People should also follow announcements by the Sheikhul Islam Office regarding COVID-19 preventive measures until the situation returns to normal or until otherwise informed,” said the notice issued by Permanent Secretary Mr Chatchai.