Covid-19: controversy in Guinea over the ban on night prayers

Guinean authorities have banned nightly prayers held on the last ten days of the fast, fearing the epidemic will spread.

(illustrative image) SIMON MAINA / AFP

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3 min

How to reconcile the application of barrier gestures against the coronavirus and the practice of Ramadan?

In Guinea, for health reasons, the authorities banned nocturnal prayers organized on the last ten days of the fast, fearing the spread of the epidemic.

A measure that is controversial and has provoked demonstrations in Upper Guinea and Forest Guinea.


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This measure arouses much criticism in regions where few cases of Covid-19 have been detected.

Like Upper Guinea, where citizens cry injustice and where religious leaders believe that their rights are being violated.

Because it is a practice anchored in the mores: it corresponds to the “Night of Destiny”, a moment of prayers considered to be very beneficial.

Banning them therefore creates frustrations, explains sociologist Sayon Dembélé.

 The last ten days of the month of Ramadan are considered the most important, it is a very important moment for Muslims and forbid them to create tension.

Braving the curfew is part of a form of comparison that people do not understand.

It has more to do with some kind of inconsistency in public power on the part of these people who consider others to be out all day, so why would they be prohibited from meeting to pray? 


For the health authorities, the priority is to limit the risks of contamination by avoiding the formation of clusters: yet the night prayers last between one and three hours, all in an enclosed space, notes Dr Sakoba Keïta, who directs the National Health Security Agency: this could promote the spread of the epidemic, warns this health professional.

In a statement, the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution deplores the death, which occurred on the night of Wednesday to Thursday, of a young person in Kérouané, following demonstrations against this measure.

The FNDC denounces violence by the security forces against citizens.


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  • Guinea

  • Coronavirus

  • Religion