Turkey holds Friday prayers for ‘few’ people

Turkey holds Friday prayers for ‘few’ people

Turkey holds Friday prayers for ‘few’ people

Turkey on March 27 banned nationwide mass Friday prayers, as it did last week, but this time allowed a limited number of people to pray together in an Ankara mosque.

“Unfortunately, Friday prayers will not be held again today due to the increasing risk of the outbreak,” the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) said in a statement.

But a limited number of people would be able to pray in Ankara’s Beştepe Millet Mosque, in a bid to “ease the guilt the nation feels” for not being able to participate in the prayers.

The unprecedented Friday prayer was also broadcasted live, with Ali Erbaş, the head of Diyanet, leading it.

The broadcast showed people sitting at least one meter apart from each other, wearing protective gear such as masks and gloves, as Erbaş was preaching the sermon.

The number of people attending the prayers was not disclosed but the broadcast footage showed no more than 25 people in the mosque.

Turkey on March 16 suspended mass prayers in mosques until the risk of coronavirus outbreak is over.

Last week, on March 19, Turkey said it closed nationwide mosques for the Friday prayers and the holy night of Lailat al Miraj (“Miraç Kandili” in Turkish).