Amsterdam mosques have announced that they will close their doors to the public for the next three weeks: some for Friday afternoon prayers, others completely.
The Blue Mosque in New West will not allow the Friday afternoon prayers to continue with public for the next three weeks. At the other prayers, a maximum of thirty people may be present, with a mouth mask.
Mosque Arrahman in De Pijp and mosque Taqwa in Westpoort will be closed completely for the time being. “It is not feasible in practice to admit 30 people to the services arbitrarily,” writes the Taqwa administration.
The central government makes an exception to the rule that within only 30 people may come together for meetings where the “professing a religion or belief” is central. On Friday, however, mayor Femke Halsema urged places of worship to adhere to the maximum group size of 30 people.
For the Blue Mosque, the choice was quickly made to switch to a live stream for Friday afternoon prayers. Before the pandemic, it was “packed there,” said spokesman Anass Bouaissa. “We are talking about more than a thousand men.”
The Blue Mosque community responds with understanding, says Bouaissa. “We have to work together to combat the virus.”
This weekend there was a stir about three church services in Staphorst, where 600 visitors were welcome per service. The churchgoers sang – which according to the national government is in the church, provided they keep their distance and well ventilated – and did not wear mouth caps. Gert-Jan Segers (ChristenUnie) emphasized that, according to him, the church “does not set a good example”. Minister Ferd Grapperhaus (Justice and Security) is consulting today with church organizations.
Yesterday, more than 30 people were allowed to attend the service in Amsterdam’s Westerkerk, says chairman Jeroen Kramer. When maintaining a safe distance, 400 people fit into the building, pastor Herman Koetsveld previously told Het Parool.
On Tuesday, the board of the Westerkerk will discuss a smaller group size. Kramer: “When it comes to advice from the municipality, we will follow it up, just as we follow the RIVM guidelines.”