DHAKA, March 19 – 25,000 Muslims gathered in Lakshmipur district of Bangladesh on Wednesday to perform a prayer named Khatme Shifa or Ayat ash-Shifa (Six Quranic Verses of Healing) to fight the containment of the pandemic Covid-19.
The whole area was flooded with thousands of devotees, and the chanting of their prayers could be heard all day long and from miles away, according to locals.
Lakshmipur Police and a local police outpost said they did not know anything about the day-long prayer, as reported by Dhaka Tribune.
The Bangladeshi government decided on Monday, anyone arriving from abroad must stay in 14-day quarantine.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Wednesday urged overseas returnees to follow the quarantine rules for the sake of the country, warning that stern action will be taken if anyone breaches those.
“The government doesn’t want to enforce the law at the beginning. But if anyone of those asked to remain in quarantine doesn’t follow the Health Ministry’s instructions, legal action will be taken against them,” he said.
Bangladesh has so far reported 14 coronavirus cases, while many people who have returned from abroad have been quarantined. On Wednesday, Bangladesh confirmed the first coronavirus death.
More Muslims ignored virus threat
16,000 Muslims in Malaysia had earlier ignored the threat of the virus and gathered for a ‘tabligh’ or Islamic propagation event from 27 Feb to 1 March in Kuala Lumpur where a total of 513 Covid-19 positive cases and one death have so far been linked to this cluster alone.
Malaysia has taken preventive steps including a Movement Control Order to encourage its citizen to stay at home in order to break the spread of the virus. As of yesterday, Malaysia recorded 790 cases with 2 deaths confirmed.
Another ‘tabligh’ event scheduled to take place tomorrow in Makkasar, Indonesia had been postponed indefinitely. More than 8,500 people from across Indonesia, Asia and the Middle East had converged to attend the event, but Indonesian authorities managed to talk the organisers into postponing it.
Reuters reported that for days, authorities had been trying to persuade Ijtima Asia, part of the global Tablighi Jama’at movement of evangelical Muslims, to halt the event at Gowa near the city of Makassar in South Sulawesi province, after a similar event in Malaysia led to hundreds of infections.
“Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), Ijtima finally agreed to postpone/cancel,” the head of Gowa regency, Adnan Purichta Ichsan, posted on social media.
He added that attendees already there would be isolated while arrangements are being made for them to leave Gowa.