Religion and the Pandemic: Muslims

Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 3:59 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - This is part three of our short series about the steps organizations of faith are taking to share their messages and give service at this time of social distancing.

The Northern Nevada Muslim Community graciously invited KOLO 8 Evening Anchor Noah Bond into the local mosque off Oddie Boulevard during a prayer service for this special report.

“We are entering the sixth month of this horrible disease. This horrible calamity,” said Imam, Abdul Barghouthi during a worship service.

“Now we come back and we are socially distancing. Everything is so different and we have to adapt to it,” Barghouthi.

“We used to pray side by side shoulder to shoulder and that’s the way the prophet Muhammad told us to pray,” said Muslim, Anisur Chowdhury.

Now, worshipers remain six feet apart.

Tape marks on the carpet indicate where a worshiper can place a prayer rug.

Before the Pandemic local Muslims could use a prayer rug at the mosque, but now they must bring their own to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the crowd size that reached up to around 350 is now limited to 50.

“It breaks my heart to send people home, but it is what it is,” said Northern Nevada Muslim Community (NNMC) President, Sheraf Elfass.

NNMC uses whatsapp to help worshipers know when a prayer meeting is full before they drive to the mosque.

“It’s first come first served and while we open at 12:30 people have been lining up since 12 o’clock. We do a health check assessment,” Elfass.

It includes a temperature check and signature to track who is in each session. Worshipers must also wear masks or other kinds of face coverings.

"The classes that we used to have now it's all online. There is no in person classes anymore," Elfass. "We are very glad that the Governor is allowing this much. I mean with the conditions we are having," Chowdhury.

"Thank you for the Governor because I believe as a State we have done better than many other states," Barghouthi.

Muslim leaders say this difficulty is an opprotunity to come together as a community and to serve.

“I wish we can look at this and say this is a chance whether we can take care of one another and overlook our differences because this virus does not discriminate between Muslim, christian, Jew, Hindu, atheist,” Barghouthi.

NNMC provides service to others every third Saturday from noon to 1:00 p.m. with an event called “Feed the Hungry” where bags of non-perishable food items are given out.

Click here to go to NNMC’s website.

Click here to join NNMC’s Facebook group.

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