As Montgomery County continues Phase 1 and gets closer to Phase 2 of reopening, several mosques in the area have announced plans for opening their doors in accordance with the guidelines set forth by Governor Larry Hogan.
Beginning June 1, visitors to the Islamic Society of the Washinton Area (ISWA) could come in – in groups of ten or less – but are not allowed to pray until Friday. Six feet of social distancing and the wearing of masks will continue as visitors return.
Muslim Community Center (MCC) in Silver Spring is still awaiting guidelines from the county before reopening for public prayers.
Silver Spring Muslim Community Center’s 2020 President Samir Jafri and Imam Faizul Khan of ISWA communicate with Hogan about the phases of their reopening plans as members of the Governor’s task force.
ISWA plans to have a tent set outside the mosque with markers to separate the worshipers six feet from each other. All visitors must wear masks and do their wudu (cleansing before prayer) at home before coming to the mosque. ISWA hopes to open by June 5 for Friday and daily prayer, as long as their plan is approved, said Faizul Khan in an interview with MyMCMedia.
Visitors have to meet specific health and safety related conditions before allowed entrance. The conditions include being 14 years and older, showing no COVID-19 symptoms, and no history of travel out of the U.S. or into U.S. coronavirus hotspots, according to the re-opening plan ISWA created for discussion with the task force.
MCC will open its doors to small numbers of ten, but everyone must wear masks, sanitize and keep their distance when inside the mosque. They are starting small until they are allowed to have more than ten people inside the mosque at a time. “When we resume the Friday prayers, instead of two prayers we will have four, and they will be abbreviated with the proper traffic management to ensure that we do not exceed what is set out in the guidelines,” said past 2019 MCC president Usman Sarwar in an email.
The Islamic Community Center of Potomac (ICCP) will continue to instruct visitors to pray at home and encourage people to use virtual ways to stay in touch with the Islamic community. In an email, ICCP Communications Manager Dilshad Fakroddin said, “We will remain closed until the situation improves. Our focus is to protect the vulnerable,”