Aware of prohibitions against mass gatherings during the Eid’l Fitr observance on Sunday, May 24, several Muslim communities in the southern Philippines still gathered in mosques.
People of all ages, teens, elderly men and women, and women with infants, attended morning prayers in a mosque in Lanao del Norte with no face masks and no “social distancing.”
Hadji Sirad Abdul-asis, imam of a mosque in Baloi town, said they are not afraid of the virus because there were no reported cases of the disease in their town.
“We survived for two months with no one dying of the virus here. That means only Allah knows of what is happening,” said the religious leader.
He said the sick were not, however, allowed in the mosque. “Even before, we did not allow the sick to come to the mosque,” he said.
Mayor Hanifa Ali of Baloi already summoned the village leader of the place where the mosque stood.
“We will investigate,” said Ali, adding that she has earlier issued an executive order prohibiting any social gathering during the quarantine period.
President Rodrigo Duterte has earlier declared May 25 as a regular holiday for the observance of Eid’l Fitr or the culmination of the holy month of Ramadan.
Eid’l is traditionally celebrated by families gathering in large congregation for an Eid prayer to express gratitude to Allah for having been able to perform their personal sacrifices.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, however, the president reminded Muslims to observe community quarantine and safe physical distancing measures.
“The entire Filipino nation should have the full opportunity to join their Muslim brothers and sisters in peace and harmony in the observance and celebration of Eid’l Fitr, subject to existing community quarantine and social distancing measures,” the president’s proclamation read.
Mindanao, home to majority of Muslim Filipinos, is currently under a less restrictive general community quarantine.
Muslim Filipinos comprise about six percent of the country’s population of about 110 million.