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Some Mosques In Dushanbe Suspend Mass Prayers To Keep Coronavirus At Bay

The Grand Mosque in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe. (file photo)
The Grand Mosque in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe. (file photo)

DUSHANBE -- Several mosques in Dushanbe have asked worshippers to not attend Friday Prayers as a precaution against the spreading of the coronavirus in mostly Muslim Tajikstan, which has yet to register a confirmed case.

Afshin Muqim, a spokesman for the Committee on Religious Issues, told RFE/RL on March 4 that the move by some mosques to suspend mass prayers was based on a recommendation from the Tajik Islamic Center.

Muqim added that authorities may officially suspend collective prayers in mosques in the near future.

Deputy Health Minister Mirhomiddin Kamolzoda confirmed to RFE/RL that such a measure is currently being discussed by health officials.

The Education and Science Ministry said on March 4 that all street performances by students held from March 20 to 22 to celebrate the Norouz New Year's holiday had been canceled due to the virus.

Norouz is the pre-Islamic New Year celebration that starts on the vernal equinox, which usually occurs around March 20. It is marked in many countries in Western and Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, and the Balkans.