Turkey on May 29 partially resumed mass prayers in mosques, including Friday prayers, as the country began easing measures against the novel coronavirus pandemic.Turkey's top religious authority mandates masks and social distancing for worshippers as mosques reopen
After a break of more than two months, Friday prayers were performed at a limited number of mosques.
Initially, only Friday, noon and afternoon prayers will be permitted. Other daily prayers will be gradually allowed in the coming weeks, Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) said. At other times, mosques will be kept open for those who want to perform individual prayers.
The resumption of communal worship was regulated by certain guidelines to minimize infection risks, limited to certain mosques and outdoor public spaces, Diyanet said.
Wearing face masks was mandatory for all worshippers. Everyone were required to bring their own prayer mats or use single-use mats provided at mosques.
Limits were set on the number of worshippers and the ground was marked to ensure social distancing, Diyanet said.1,003 animals to be sacrificed for mosque reopenings, says top cleric
Thematerials considered to raise the risk of the virus' spread -- suchas prayer beads, reading desks, and shoehorns -- were not allowed inmosques.
Diyanet head Ali Erbaş said on May 28 that that 1,003 mufti offices across Turkey would sacrifice 1,003 animals "as a grace of reuniting with mosques and collective prayers," and the meats of sacrificed animals would be distributed to people in need.
Turkey suspendedprayers in March among a range of measures including stay-at-homeorders, travel bans and closures of shops and restaurants. However,Ankara has recently started to ease restrictions.