(ATLANTA, GA – 4/22/2020) — The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Georgia), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslims of the United States of America (MOUSA), and Majlis Ash-Shura today announced that a coalition of Georgia’s largest mosques have agreed to remain closed during the month of Ramadan, which begins on or about April 24, despite Governor Kemp’s new executive order permitting Georgians to return to houses of worship.
During the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast between dawn to sunset. Muslims also normally engage in communal acts of worship, including special evening prayers (tarawih prayers) and community dinners (iftars).
However, Islamic theology teaches that the “highest objective is to protect and preserve life,” and that “avoiding harm takes precedence over acquiring benefit.” Despite Governor Kemp’s announcement that houses of worship can hold limited religious services, Georgia’s largest mosques are advising all American Muslims to continue practicing social distancing to protect members of the public from the spread of COVID-19.
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In a statement, CAIR-Georgia Executive Director Abdullah Jaber said:
“During the holy month of Ramadan, Georgia Muslims normally gather at houses of worship to perform extra prayers to God, host community dinners, and engage in other acts of devotion. However, Georgia Muslims also recognize that protecting human life is more important than visiting our houses of worship.
“Based on medical and scientific advice, we firmly believe that re-opening houses of worship right now would pose a danger to the public. Major mosques across Georgia, therefore, plan to remain closed until medical and scientific experts confirm that it is safe for us to return to houses of worship.”
The coalition of Georgia mosques recommends that all mosques and community centers implement online and other creative platforms to engage and fulfill the spiritual, social, and educational needs of their community. Moving these services to virtual platforms fulfills a communal need while limiting the possibility of harms occurring from the lack of social distancing.
CAIR-Georgia is a chapter of CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR-GA Executive Director Abdullah Jaber, 404-464-6612, firstname.lastname@example.org