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PA Religion Ministry closes mosques and churches; tells Palestinians to pray at home, due to Coronavirus

Headline: "The [PA Ministry of] Religious Affairs decided to limit prayers to home and not going out to mosques and churches"

"The [PA] Ministry of Religious Affairs issued a decision to limit the prayers of citizens to their homes and not to go out to mosques and churches in all areas of the State of Palestine, beginning yesterday [March 14, 2020] and until further notice. This is based on the guidelines of the [PA] Ministry of Health and expert doctors.

The ministry said in a statement: 'In accordance with the recommendations of the Ministry of Health to reduce contact between people, and reduce gatherings as much as possible, we call on the Muslim members of our people in Palestine to hold prayers in their homes, and that the mosques serve only for the call to prayer in accordance with the guidelines of Prophet [Muhammad] at a time when there is difficulty due to rain, cold, or a stench, so how much more so in the case of an epidemic and sicknesses.' …[The ministry] added: 'We also call on our Christian brothers to stop the prayers in the churches and limit their role to ringing the bells in accordance with this position.'

And it announced: 'This world epidemic has not stopped circling and is liable to take the lives of millions of people. The instructions of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the experts are based on research and precautions, and violating these instructions is liable to cause disasters and harm to people's lives – which Allah determined are holier than the supreme Kaaba (i.e., in Mecca, Islam's holiest site) – and how could it not be, for Shari'ah [law] is based on protecting lives.’"