More slots for Hari Raya Puasa prayers, but mosque booking system will remain to manage crowd, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

More slots for Hari Raya Puasa prayers, but mosque booking system will remain to manage crowd

This article is more than 12 months old

More than 206,000 spaces are now being offered for Hari Raya Puasa prayers, instead of the 153,000 announced by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) last Friday (April 22).

A total of 66 mosques will hold at least two prayer sessions with prior bookings on the morning of Hari Raya Puasa on May 3. Fifteen of them are expecting larger attendances and will hold a third session, which is open to walk-ins.

The increase in spaces comes after the multi-ministry task force tackling the Covid-19 pandemic lowered the Disease Outbreak Response Condition (Dorscon) from orange to yellow on April 22, and eased community safe management measures (SMMs) from April 26.

This also means that from April 26, religious organisations can carry out activities in full capacity, instead of the previous limit of 75 per cent at places of worship.

But Deputy Mufti Mohd Murat Md Aris said the booking system will remain.

"Until we understand the situation and are sure that mosques have enough space, we will still continue with the booking system. Slowly, in time, we hope to discontinue it but as for now, the system remains until further notice," he said.

Speaking to the media at Yusof Ishak Mosque, he noted that Muslims have been orderly in mosques amid the changing restrictions over the past two years.

Yusof Ishak Mosque executive chairman Khalid Shukur, who was also present at the media interview, spoke of the importance of booking systems to manage the overwhelming turnouts at mosques every Hari Raya before the pandemic. Congregants ended up praying outside of the mosques.

Uztaz Murat also advised the Muslim community to pray at home with their families if they cannot secure a booking.

Fifty mosques will implement vaccination-differentiated safe management measures (VDS), while the remaining 16 mosques will be open to unvaccinated Muslims.

The list of these mosques can be found on Muis' website.

"We welcome the numbers and restrictions, but at the same time, certain guidelines and precautions for safety need to be followed. We will be ensuring that our staff, volunteers will manage the queues and check ins for bookings," said Mr Khalid.

Bookings for the prayer sessions will open at 10am on April 28. They can be made via this website or the app, both of which will display the number of available places at each mosque.