Clerics meet today to review govt’s decision to limit Friday prayer congregations

April 14, 2020

After incidents of clashes between worshippers and police in different areas of Karachi over the Sindh government’s decision to limit the Friday prayers congregations, key religious scholars...

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After incidents of clashes between worshippers and police in different areas of Karachi over the Sindh government’s decision to limit the Friday prayers congregations, key religious scholars are gathering today (Tuesday) at the Darul Uloom Karachi seminary to revisit their decision of cooperating with the provincial government.

Religious scholars attended a meeting on Sunday to discuss the ongoing coroanvirus crisis and the government’s efforts, particularly clashes between police and worshippers in Frontier Colony on Friday, and said that registering cases against prayers leaders of mosques was against the assurances Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and law enforcement agencies had held out to them.

Prominent scholars from Deobandi school of thought, including Mufti Muhammad Rafi Usmani, Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, Maulana Dr Adil Khan, Mufti Azizur Rehman, Qari Muhammad Usman, Maulana Imdadullah and Dr Qasim Mehmood, attended the meeting.

The participants of the meeting have shown their anger over Friday's incident in Frontier Colony when Sharafat Khan, a woman SHO of the Pirabad police station, tried to prevent worshippers from entering the mosque. Khan was injured in an attack by a group of worshippers.

“The woman SHO disrespected the mosque by entering with shoes and misbehaved with the worshippers. We will not accept the registering of a case against the mosque’s pesh imam because it is not the responsibility of the pesh imam to stop worshippers from coming to the mosque for prayers,” said a statement issued by the clerics after Sunday's meeting. They unanimously demanded of the authorities to remove Khan from the post of the SHO, conduct an impartial inquiry into the incident and withdraw cases lodged against the pesh imam and the mosque management.

The participants expressed concerns over “the delaying tactics being used to withdraw the cases registered against imams” for violating the government’s restriction for Friday congregations. “Despite Chief Minister Shah’s directives to withdraw the cases against all clerics unconditionally, police have been delaying the process,” said the statement.

The participants decided to convene a meeting again today (Tuesday) to devise a strategy regarding the prayer congregations at mosques. “The plan for preventing the worshippers from attending the prayers at mosques has been failed, and we should devise a strategy to allow worshippers by adopting safety measures, such as keeping distances between the rows during the prayers,” the statement said. The clerics also demanded a halt to targeting members of Tablighi congregation members over the spread of the coronavirus.



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