Muslims want right to Portuguese nationality “just like Sephardic Jews”

Mosques in Portugal reopen on Saturday

The 50 or so mosques that exist in Portugal will be reopening on Saturday – for the first time since March – in line with the government programme for ‘deconfinement’.

It’s not going to be easy, iman David Munir has conceded – particularly in Lisbon where the mosque is providing shelter for a group of 14 asylum seekers, all of whom have tested positive for Covid-19.

Assuring Lusa that the situation is under control – the area for praying is not connected to the living quarters of the infected asylum seekers – the iman said the issues really are with space.

Where lines of up to 90 worshippers were accommodated in the past, now they can only have 15.

CIL (the Islamic Community of Lisbon) has drawn up a guide for best practices, explaining that certain rituals (like the ablution, or purification) have to continue to be done in worshippers’ homes. The doors of the mosques will open only for prayers and close immediately after them. All worshippers will have to wear masks (the mosque says it has suitable material if anyone turns up without a mask). Essentially, worshippers “should spend as little time as possible in the mosques”, said the iman.

Today (Thursday) political leaders are meeting with health chiefs to discuss the results of the first two phases of deconfinement as the country approaches phase three on Monday.

The areas of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo are still those inspiring most concern, with the number of cases there continuing to grow, as well as the number of deaths (click here).

It’s possible, say reports, that measures will be adopted to try and contain the Lisbon outbreaks and ensure they don’t spill over into other neighbourhoods.