Muslim leaders in the southern Philippines have extended the suspension of congregational prayers in mosques to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus disease.
Abuhuraira Udasan, grand mufti of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said the Islamic Advisory Council has agreed to extend the ban.
“The temporary suspension is indefinitely extended while waiting for the appropriate time for us to relax it,” said Udasan.
He said the extension of the ban followed the move of Islamic leaders in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Egypt.
Muslim leader in Mindanao had earlier suspended congregational prayers in mosques from March 19 to April 10.
The autonomous Muslim region is home to about four million people, most of whom are Muslims.
Under the teachings of Islam, it is mandatory for Muslims to attend congregational prayers on Friday in mosques.
Muslims are also required to pray five times daily in congregation at mosques or designated prayer areas.
As of April 12, there were eight confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Muslim region with three deaths and three recoveries.
Meanwhile, former rebel fighters in the region have donated about 100 sacks of citrus to people in the province of Sultan Kudarat.
Patrick Ibrahim Mama, a former combatant of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, said that instead of selling his fruits he decided to donate it to help boost the immune system of people.
Due to the high demand for Vitamin C, prices of citrus soared to about US$20 per sack from less than US$10 before the new coronavirus pandemic.
In the central Philippines, the Archdiocese of Capiz has initiated a program to feed poor families amid the community lockdown due to the pandemic.
“We understand that the national government could not really help all those in need in these times of crises,” said Father Mark Granflor, director of the Capiz Archdiocese Social Action Center.
He said his office has been doing its best to help the government even in the dissemination of information about the disease through the church’s radio station.
Meanwhile, the Aid to the Church in Need has provided five million euros in emergency funding to support priests and nuns serving communities most vulnerable to the new coronavirus disease.
According to the international pontifical charity, the initiative will assist the religious so that they may be able to continue to carry out their spiritual and social ministries.
Thomas Heine-Geldern, executive president of the organization, noted that many impoverished communities often depend on the local Church for social services, including health care.
“We are united in prayer with the brave and dedicated priests and nuns who give their all to serve the world’s most vulnerable communities, and with all who are suffering around the world,” he said.
The aid group said the funding will be a broad-spectrum intervention in the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa, through project support.