Consideration for Places of Worship T&T

Consideration for Places of Worship T&T

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Islamic Scholars Network started this petition to Minister Faris Al-Rawi (Attorney General) and

On behalf of a large cross-section of the Muslim community and people of faith, we commend you and your ministry for the diligence and effort that has been made for the control of the pandemic. While fully knowledgeable of the many challenges and consequences of the pandemic, we are requesting that deeper consideration be given to selected places of worship, including mosques, to remain open throughout the “lockdown.”

We know the effects and severity of the virus, but we cannot deny the evolving sense of hopelessness plaguing our society as we go through the stages of this pandemic. The Prime Minister in a news conference rightfully indicated the loss of emotional and spiritual capital that is incurred with the closure of places of worship. Hence, we hope to minimize the symptoms of this problem by connecting people spiritually to their places of worship. Highlighted are a few points to bear in mind:

●     We, the people of Trinidad and Tobago, are people of faith. We believe that God has ultimate control over all affairs. Our decisions regarding the places of worship can be in fact, a test of our faith.

●     There is not enough evidence or research locally to state that closing places of worship will drastically minimize the spread of the virus, and if there is, that information should be shared publicly. 

●      In the past months, the vast majority of places of worship adopted much diligence and acted responsibly in enacting optimal practices and procedures. A lot of resources and guidelines were put in place to ensure they remained safe for operations.

●     The Prime Minister indicated the loss of emotional and spiritual capital that results from the closure of places of worship. However, the holy month of Ramadhan is a month where many Muslims fulfil the payment of Zakaah, a religiously obligated charity due every year. Its sole purpose is to support the vulnerable in society. In the past year, our congregations have distributed millions in charity to those in need. Additionally, this holy month encourages Muslims to be generous beyond this, in donating to those in need.

●      The closure of places of worship cripples the above mentioned financial support system. As mentioned yesterday, in this lockdown, the state cannot repeat its support of citizens through grants and other relief efforts. The closure of houses of worship is a tangible detriment to the support system that civic society undertakes to reinforce the official capacity of the Government.

●     Shutting down places of worship may leave a severe and long-lasting deficiency psychologically and spiritually as a nation under God. We must attempt to rectify this before our nation crosses the point of no return.

●     The health implications of the pandemic aside, the long-term socio-economic, psychological, and mental damage that is taking place in our society is much more damaging and therefore, will result in lawlessness, pilferage, and crime. Despite the “lockdown” exacerbating these effects, the places of worship play a vital role in coping with these aspects. They provide the essential benefits of spiritual, emotional, and mental health services that are lost when complete lockdown of such places are enforced.

●     Nothing can substitute places of worship. They are ESSENTIAL and should have the same right and choice to operate with physical distancing and protocols.

In light of the above, with adherence to all safety protocols, we request that:

●     The government should engage the people of faith, private businesses, and all other stakeholders in helping to manage the affairs of the pandemic and bring about a whole-of-society approach.

●     The Ministry should meet with faith leaders at their locations and carry out a risk assessment of the places of worship and tailor their approval according to the venue and practices being carried out. This will be in addition to any risk assessment already in place.

●     In the event of the need for a “lockdown”, the places of worship are left open throughout the day for individual prayer and reflection. Individuals will maintain their own social bubble and physical distance from other individuals or households that may be there at the same time.

●     Whilst addressing the lockdowns, approved places of worship shall be made as safe avenues for relieving pandemic fatigue.

May God Almighty guide us to making the right decisions and not to fear the very pathway that will lead to our salvation. We believe that through this, not only will the measures for virus control be maintained, but the adverse effects to individuals and communities at large will be mitigated. It sets up our communities to be in the best position to face the inevitably difficult time ahead and support its members financially, socially, and spiritually.

Islamic Scholars Network



0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!