Putrajaya mosque explains Covid-19 quota system for Friday prayers after backlash

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Muslims observe social distancing while performing Aidilfitri prayers at Masjid Putra, in Putrajaya, on the first day of Raya May 13, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Muslims observe social distancing while performing Aidilfitri prayers at Masjid Putra, in Putrajaya, on the first day of Raya May 13, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 11 — Accused of practicing preferential treatment, Masjid Putra in the federal administrative capital today clarified its quota system that was introduced for Friday prayers as a Covid-19 preventive measures.

The mosque explained that the 300-person capacity in a single prayer session was set by the government.

“Of that number, the mosque management also has an allocation for regular congregants who have registered earlier and declared their estimated time of arrival to ensure the number of attendees meet the quota,” it said in a statement.

It explained that the number of people who turn up for Friday prayers far exceeds the current capacity allowed, adding that some come as early as 11am.

The Muslim congregational prayers on Friday usually start about 1pm, and are a must for devout Muslims, but physical distancing rules to prevent the spread of the viral disease has seen a cap placed on the number of people allowed to pray indoors at any one time.

Masjid Putra added that because of the strict rules, it would close the main gate once the quota is reached. As such, those who turn up will not be allowed entry.

The mosque’s explanation comes after a video clip was circulated online showing a group of people arriving at Masjid Putra in a luxury car for yesterday’s Friday prayers while a large crowd waited outside the gates.

Detractors claimed one of the group was a VIP and the rest his entourage and accused the mosque of double standards.

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