In line with an appeal by the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, for the disinfection of all Islamic facilities, including mosques across the country, the waste management company, Zoomlion Ghana Limited, has responded by undertaking the first of such exercises.
In pursuit of that the company undertook a clean-up and disinfection exercise at the Abossey Okai Central Mosque in Accra. It is expected to be extended to other mosques in the rest of the country.
The exercise at the Abossey Okai Mosque began at about 7:20 a.m., with Zoomlion personnel sweeping the entire mosque area and collecting the refuse into a skip truck for disposal.
The clean-up exercise at the Central Mosque paved way for the disinfection exercise which lasted for about four hours.
Apart from the mosque itself, other places disinfected included offices and ablution bay.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the exercise, the Spokesperson of the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu, who was there to observe the exercise, commended the swiftness with which Zoomlion responded by voluntarily disinfecting the national mosque.
“We are grateful to Zoomlion for quickly taking the initiative, following the appeal we made during the virtual Eid-ul-Fitr celebration this year,” he expressed.
That request, he reiterated, was made by the National Chief Imam in anticipation of the easing down of the Covid-19 restrictions.
According to him, because they had no idea when the restrictions were going to be eased, the office of the National Chief Imam deemed it needful to seek the central government’s support for Islamic facilities across the country to be disinfected.
He was optimistic that the disinfection of the national mosque would send a signal to the central government to heed their request for Islamic facilities to be disinfected.
He said that when the nationwide disinfection exercise came into fruition, it would trickle down to the regional, district, community and neighbourhood mosques.
“In fact, the larger Muslim community will be educated to partake in this exercise by assisting Zoomlion in the general cleaning of the surroundings of the mosques,” he assured.
However, Sheikh Shaibu indicated that the Chief Imam’s appeal could be broadened where a national programme would be in place to include Christian worship centres.
“Covid-19 does not discriminate among religions so it will be good if such a gesture when implemented will cover other religions,” he urged.
While asking for government’s support in these unprecedented times, he admonished the citizenry to play their part in ensuring that the battle against Covid-19 was won.
Furthermore, he used the opportunity to speak against the stigmatisation of persons who had contracted Covid-19.
That practice, he stressed, must stop!
In his view, stigmatising people with Covid-19 was bad, insisting that “we should rather be showing them affection instead of stigmatising them.”
Though he admitted that the country’s caseload of COVID-19 was rising, he added that should not cause any panic.
“It should rather give us hope that we are knowing people who are infected so that they can be isolated for treatment, adding that being infected with COVID-19 does not mean you are dying,” he said.
On measures outlined by the Muslim community in the event the COVID-19 restrictions were eased, Sheikh Shaibu disclosed that every mosque in the country would have a COVID-19 committee whose objective would be to ensure that the safety protocols were strictly adhered to.
“Thus every mosque will have alcohol-based hand sanitisers at its entrance, Veronica buckets and soap placed at vantage points to aid regular washing of hands and also observe physical/social distancing,” he said.
Furthermore, he disclosed that there would be thermometer guns at the mosques to check the temperatures of members who go to the mosque to worship.
“The ablution bay is open to everybody. That cannot continue under Covid-19, and so we will ensure that everyone comes with his own water can, and also encourage members to come with their own prayer rugs,” he stressed.
All these measures, he noted, would be enforced to ensure the safety of Muslims who go to worship at the mosque.
Sheikh Shaibu noted that they have had several meetings with the government at various levels, revealing that the most recent one was with the Council of State members.
He indicated that the Muslim community would have no problem if the COVID-19 restrictions were eased, but assured that they would play their part to help contain the spread of the virus.