Media touts NY mosque staying open to ‘keep the faith,’ as Christians turn to courts amid police raids

With all the attention on church members being fined for attending drive-up services where they remain in their cars, a Syracuse mosque is still open for daily prayers.

Not only are there no law enforcement raids, as seen in other parts of the country in response to drive-up church services, the media is even highlighting that the Mosque of Jesus, Son of Mary remains open in an attempt to “keep the faith.”

Granted, the mosque did go to great lengths to limit any exposure to the coronavirus, and attendance is sparse, as seen in a video from Syracuse.com.

At the same time, New York remains the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 134,436 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus and over 10,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

An asbestos abatement expert who worships at the mosque, Irfan Elahi, created what is being called a “clean room,” according to the news outlet.

More from Syracuse.com:

He used his skills to create a prayer room covered in plastic with special ventilation that allows daily prayers to continue in the 116-year-old former church, as the holy month of Ramadan nears.

The room is lined with plastic, and two machines siphon air out of the room to create negative pressure. Air in the room is recycled every four minutes. Elahi used the materials and expertise from his day job to create what he called a “clean room.”

 

The article said that 10 worshipers in masks are allowed in at a time, noting that they “stand far apart from each other.”

However, as seen in the video above, worshipers are less than 6 ft. apart, which is the distance recommended by officials.

Interestingly, while Syracuse.com reported that normal Friday prayers were canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the article was less certain about Ramadan gatherings, reporting that these services are “likely” to be canceled.

Temple Baptist Church in Greenville, Miss., was just one of a number of churches that tried to hold drive-up service, only to have local police give $500 tickets to those who failed to disperse when asked.

And a pastor in Tampa, Fla., was arrested for continuing to hold services, even though the River at Tampa Bay Church also took extra measures to keep parishioners safe.

Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne dared to declare that the House of God is an essential service.

“We feel that it is very important, at this time, that we keep our doors open for anyone who needs prayer or ministry and to make ourselves available to minister hope and healing and comfort to them,” the church said in a statement.

“We are the Body of Christ and the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe God‘s Word to us, which says to trust Him and to not be fearful but to have faith in Him.”

The pastor would eventually relent to the heavy hand of local authorities.

Christians have been forced to turn to the courts to practice their faith, with at least three lawsuits being filed last week — one in California, one in Kentucky and another in Mississippi from Temple Baptist — with many more reportedly on the way.

The Justice Department intervened in a dispute between Temple Baptist Church and the city of Greenville, siding with the church.

“Religious institutions must not be singled out for special burdens,” Attorney General William Barr said.

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Tom Tillison

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