Latest on COVID-19: Ismaili institutions in Canada announce Jamatkhana closures nationwide as provinces take steps to limit large gatherings

Please click on image for guidelines and other important information issued by the Ismaili institutions in Canada

Ismaili institutions in Canada respond to COVID-19 with Jamatkhana closures

LATEST DEVELOPMENT: The Aga Khan Museum has announced that it will be temporarily closed until April 7, 2020. All scheduled events and programs up to and including April 6 have been cancelled. Ticket purchases for affected Museum events, programs, and performances will be automatically refunded by March 20, 2020.

The following information has been compiled from the Ismaili Canada website and the Al-Akhbar special COVID 19 supplement:

Provincial health authorities in Canada have announced additional steps to limit large gatherings and reduce the risk of infection from the spread of COVID-19.  As a result, the Jamati Institutions, in consultation with public health officials, and with the aim of protecting the most vulnerable in our Jamat, have closed Jamatkhanas in each jurisdiction. This includes morning, evening and weekend ceremonies. All Jamatkhana-based programming is also cancelled including social events associated with the celebrations of Navroz such as dandia raas, traditional dancing as well as jamans (large scale dining).

The decision to close our Jamatkhanas has not been taken lightly, and we seek the Jamat’s understanding and forgiveness for any inconvenience caused.  While the Public Health Agency of Canada continues to assess the risk to the general population in Canada as “low”, we are taking these precautionary steps in the interests of the Jamat’s long-term health and security.  

The Jamati Institutions will continue to provide regular information and updates to the Jamat via the electronic Al-Akhbar and iiCanada app.  We pray for the safety and security of all Canadians and for all those affected globally.  

EARLIER NEWS: Earlier during the day, Ismaili institutions had announced a cap of 250 people in Jamatkhanas in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec following bans by the three provincial governments of gatherings of more than 250.

The Al-Akhbar newsletter distributed by the Aga Khan Ismaili Council for Canada via subscriptions contains COVID-19 updates with the intention of keeping the community informed of developments as they unfold, with specific reference to the situation in Canada, which is different from that in other parts of the world. Please click here for the latest COVID-19 update.

Ismaili institution response to COVID-19 in other parts of the world

Link(s) to measures taken by Ismaili institutions in other parts of the world for their respective Jamats will be provided below and will be updated regularly:

1. PORTUGAL – The Ismaili Portugal Atualizações: COVID-19

For non-Portuguese speakers, please use google translate to obtain a fairly accurate translation of the changes that are being implemented in Portugal. Interestingly, the article is pretty open about the specific steps that are being implemented within the ritual and ceremonial aspects of religious practices to contain COVID-19. The Portuguese article also states there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country among Jamati members. – Ed.

2. USA Jamatkhana closures – The Ismaili USA COVID-19 Updates

3. Aga Khan University’s Response to COVID-19: President Rasul’s message

4. Far East Jamat: Navroz Message and COVID-19 guidelines

Muslim countries take steps as Coronavirus plagues the world

Note: The content in this section is not being updated.

. Saudi Arabia has suspended Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. Umrah is a pilgrimage that many Muslims elect to perform at any time of the year, and is a shortened version of the annual Hajj pilgrimage that is scheduled to take place in late July. Last year’s Hajj was attended by more than 2 million people, and this year’s Hajj hangs in the balance as fears about the coronavirus plague the world:

. Iran has cancelled Friday prayers across provincial capitals

. Singapore Muslims have been urged to bring own prayer mats to mosques;

. The government of Tajikistan has asked Muslims to avoid going to mosques for the Juma (Friday) prayers;

. Iran, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan are among countries that have halted the annual celebration of Navroz that takes place around March 21;

. In Malaysia, the health ministry has called on mass gatherings to be postponed after 12 cases were linked to a 3 day Islamic conference held in Kuala Lampur recently;

. Singapore has temporarily closed all the country’s mosques for deep cleaning from Friday March 13 after two men contracted the coronavirus while attending the Islamic conference in neighbouring Malaysia;

. The Muslim Council for Britain has just released a four page document containing guidance on the impact on mosques, madrasas and Islamic centres in the UK after the announcement that an emergency legislation is to be introduced to contain the spread of COVID-19;

. Across various faiths and religious denominations, rituals and practices are being tweaked to adapt to the outbreak of a disease that thrives on nothing more than close human contact.

Stouffville Metro supermarket; Vovid 19 rush.
At around noon on Friday, March 13, 2020 in Stouffville, north of Toronto, a Metro grocery store parking lot was full. Concerned shoppers had filled their shopping carts with all the essentials, and the line-ups at the cashiers at the supermarket were long as is shown in the photo above: Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Date posted: March 13, 2020.
Last updated: March 19, 2020.

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