Although the state has an executive order, which categorically bans all “non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason,” neighborhood Muslims are still allowed to congregate in the mosque’s prayer room for prayer sessions throughout the week.
“About 10 worshippers in masks are allowed in at a time, though rarely do that many show up. They stand far apart from each other as they follow a prayer leader standing on a plastic-covered prayer rug,” a Syracuse.com report highlighted. The Blaze report noted “in a video of one of the prayers, it appears that the worshippers are not at least 6 feet away, as the Centers for Disease Control recommends.”
It is still unknown why the Mosque is allowed to operate. However, the mosque has received praise from Syracuse.com for its efforts to “keep the faith” during a time of pandemic and as the month of Ramadan is around the corner.
The report recounted what Irfan Elahi, an asbestos abatement expert who attends mosque, had to say about the matter. He claimed that when the outbreak started, local mosque leaders were concerned that Muslims would become anxious if their daily prayers were cancelled.
During the last few weeks, church gatherings have been prohibited in several states. In a number of cases, church participants were arrested for violating shelter-in-place orders. In Mississippi, several church attendees were slapped with $500 fines for staying in their vehicles in a church parking lot while listening to a radio broadcast of the service. In Kentucky, nails were reportedly placed at parking lot entrances to keep people from participating in the Easter service. A county in northern California prohibited singing during church livestreams unless people stay at home.
In the Big Apple, Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened to “permanently” close churches and synagogues if they did not follow the government’s shelter-in-place order. New York is one of the most anti-freedom states in the nation, so these kinds of bans are to be expected.
But if you’re part of a protected group like Muslim, you can have the state carve out privileges for you.