The imam at one of Dundee’s mosques says he cannot wait to start welcoming people back again.
Since lockdown was enforced in March, Dundee Central Mosque’s members were forced to pray individually and celebrated the month of Ramadan, one of the biggest events in the Islamic calendar, in isolation from each other.
As Dundee Central Mosque opened properly yesterday, Imam Hamza says he can now safely welcome back groups of people.
Speaking to the Tele Imam Hamza said: “We had been able to open for individual prayers, but getting everyone together to pray is a great hope for the community.
“All the preparations are in place, everything has been deep cleaned and we are following the Scottish Government’s guidelines.
“We have separate entrances and exits and there are hand sanitisers at each.
“All the individual prayer spaces are marked out and people will need to bring their own prayer mat and wear a mask.
“They will now be able to come back into the mosque and have the opportunity to pray safely.”
He added: “We have been doing prayers over the phone during lockdown, but you feel so much better if you get to see people in person.”
“Normally we get more people coming to the mosque on a Friday, usually around 600 people, so we will have staggered services each Friday to limit the number of people coming in to pray at any one time.
“We do think we may get a bit less than that to begin with because people may still be a bit apprehensive.”
He added the community is particularly excited to be able to celebrate their second Eid at the end of this month to mark the end of the Hajj, another major event for Muslims.
This comes after the mosque had to cancel a lot of social celebrations for their first Eid at the end of Ramadan because it was held during lockdown.
Imam Hamza continued: “We are super excited to start up again, particularly after Ramadan was spent in lockdown with all the restrictions in place.
“Breaking the fast after Ramadan is usually a whole community get-together and one of the main times of the year for us.
“But we have Hajj coming up at the end of this month with a second Eid which we will celebrate together with special prayers.
“We are looking forward to bringing back that community aspect.”
As the mosque reopened, Imam Hamza also thanked the government for its efforts during the pandemic on behalf of the Muslim community.