In the few open mosques, the faithful must respect physical distance measures (illustration). - CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP
"We missed it!" Devotees went to the few mosques open on Sunday for the Eid al-Fitr prayer, marking the end of a Ramadan confined due to the coronavirus. "A lot of Muslims came to say prayers, it's a pleasure," says Omar, 15, with a carpet under his arm and a surgical mask on his face, at the exit of the Grand Mosque in Pantin (Seine-Saint-Denis). .
The gauge has been revised downwards, where usually, "about 1,400 faithful" can be accommodated, explains M'hammed Henniche, one of the officials of the place of worship. On this Sunday morning, about 800 believers, divided into two ceremonies to regulate the crowd, attended the prayer and the preaching, about half of which inside the mosque, he estimates. Religious ceremonies were able to resume after a decision of the Council of State which on May 18 ordered the government to lift the "general and absolute" ban on assembly in places of worship, established within the framework of the state of health emergency. Masses were also held in the country on Saturday.
Masks and physical distance
"You should not stay in front of the mosque," reminds a group of young people, one of the site security personnel, an orange chasuble on his back. A direction of circulation has been defined, hydroalcoholic gel made available and masks distributed to those who did not have it. Associated with physical distance, these barrier measures are part of the instructions given to managers of places of worship in the decree published on Saturday, a few hours before one of the two most solemn dates on the Muslim calendar.
Our file on Ramadan
After two months of closure linked to the health crisis, however, the reopening of mosques remained in the minority, given the delays. "Many association leaders panicked and did not want to open," recognizes M'hammed Henniche, also responsible for the Union of Muslim Associations in 93.
Faithful in stadiums
In Seine-et-Marne, the mosque of Ozoir-la-Ferrière had invited the faithful in a stadium of 7,000 m2 in the open air. A similar initiative at Levallois-Perret (Hauts-de-Seine), where 2,000 people gathered on the grounds of a sports complex, according to France Bleu.
Aid prayer, Levallois mashAllah 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/aPWFryZsUA- yahya 🇲🇦 (@ yannis_923) May 24, 2020
The French Council of Muslim worship had also called the believers "not to celebrate in the mosques the prayer of Eid al-Fitr", recommending "to perform it at home and with family". But for many worshipers, the opportunity to turn the page on this confined Ramadan was too good. "During that month it was the friendly side that was blocked", "when the neighbors invite each other, the family", says Nazim, in front of the Mantes-la-Ville mosque (Yvelines). Some 300 worshipers have been allowed to attend the Imam's preaching in a mosque that usually accommodates 1,200 people.
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