Mosque withdraws application for call to prayer

Harrow Central Mosque has withdrawn its application to broadcast the call to prayer following significant easing of lockdown restrictions.

Mosque leaders had applied to Harrow Council for permission to broadcast the call to prayer every Friday for three months.

The move was part of a initiative designed to reach out to people of all faiths during the coronavirus pandemic in an effort to reduce isolation.

However, the plan to broadcast the call to prayer proved controversial with strong support for the idea in some quarters and fierce opposition in others.

The mosque has now formally withdrawn the application as the number of Covid-19 cases continue to fall and restrictions on people’s movements are lifted.

During lockdown the mosque has moved many of its activities – including worship and classes – online.

This has included participating in an online initiative alongside local churches and other organisations that has seen the call to prayer streamed live on Fridays at 6pm.

It will continue to take part in this project until it finishes at the end of June.

While some churches and other places of worship have started to re-open, mosque leaders said the building would remain closed for the moment.

In the withdrawal letter to Harrow Council, mosque general secretary Jahangeer Choudry said the nature of worship at the building made it hard to implement social distancing measures.

“The safety of our community is paramount to us and due to the congregational nature of worship in the mosque we will not be reopening and remain closed until further notice,” he wrote.

However, he stressed the organisation would continue providing a wide range of practical and emotional support for vulnerable local people of all faiths and backgrounds

Two new helplines are due to be launched in coming weeks to help more people access the mosque’s befriending and counselling services.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners, the council and other faith groups to continue the great work we are all doing to support residents during these difficult times,” said Mr Choudry.