There was drama at the Ussifiyya Mosque in Kumasi after the Imam paused his sermon during the Friday prayers and asked one of his congregants to leave the mosque for failing to put on a face mask.
The mandatory wearing of the face mask was part of measures announced by the government prior to the reopening of Mosques and Churches after COVID-19 induced restrictions were eased.
Although some religious leaders have declared their intentions not to reopen their places of worship despite the easing of the restrictions, majority of mosques in Kumasi on Friday reopened for the first time after a ban on social gathering due to COVID-19.
The various mosques set-up a task force which was enforcing the measures at their premises.
Members of the task force ensured that persons coming to the mosques washed their hands, used sanitizers and their body temperature also checked before they were allowed into the main auditorium.
Posters containing COVID-19 sensitization inscriptions were also placed at entrances of mosques and other vantage locations to educate congregants on how to prevent the spread of the virus.
At the Kumasi Central Mosque, an ambulance was stationed with paramedics and personnel from the National Disaster Management Organization(NADMO) stationed to attend to emergencies.
Imam of the Ussifiyya Mosque, Sheik Yussif Alhassan Umar, who ensured that all the measures announced by the Government were adhered to by attendees at his mosque, used part of his sermon to reiterate the need for all to ensure compliance with the guidelines.
While delivering the Friday sermon and noticed that a member of his congregation was not wearing the face mask which has become mandatory at his mosque, he paused and walked him out.
“There was a meeting after directives by the Government and I told all the members that we have to try as much as possible to do what we can do to apply the directives because it is prevention for all of us. And we are denying people entering the mosque without the mask, how can you a member enter the mosque without the mask?”
“No one is above the law. If you are commanding somebody not to enter the mosque without the mask, how can you enter without the mask? You have to lead by example. That is why I sacked him. And when I sacked him, he went out to get the mask before I allowed him to sit in the mosque,” Sheik Ussifiyya explained.
Muslim leaders have said they will try their best to sustain the enforcement of COVID-19 prevention measures announced by the government.