Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 July 2021:
President Bio is being accused by cross section of the country’s religious community of using bully tactics, after announcing new covid lockdown measures on national television and radio without consulting the council of religious leaders.
The lockdown measures include the banning of religious service for a whole month, and the restriction of funeral and wedding attendance to 50 people.
But there is confusion as to whether the president meant that funeral and wedding ceremonies can take place in churches and mosques, subject to a maximum of 50 attending those events, or not.
Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden OOR (Photo), whose family are preparing to lay their mother Mrs Sylvia Jolliminah Blyden to rest on Tuesday, said: “My understanding of the President’s words is that Funerals and Weddings can go on in churches and mosques but with no more than 50 persons in attendance.
“However, regular congregational services like Sunday Church and Friday Mosque prayers have been banned for a month effectively Friday 2nd July 2021. Those who are saying funerals and weddings totally cannot be held in churches and mosques have surely misunderstood Mr. President. How can President Bio even say that?
“Hope this will be clarified. We all want to break the transmission but not at the expense of losing our rights to have our loved ones get mosque and church funeral blessings done over their remains. Limiting funeral and wedding attendance to no more than 50 persons in the church or mosque, is quite okay and understandable – in a bid to help stop COVID19 transmission.”
Yesterday the head of NACOVERC – Mr Jamiru, published a statement saying that anyone in the country planning a funeral or wedding must first apply to NCOVERC for permission, and must ensure that protocols will be put in place in compliance with the Covid restrictions.
This is a letter written by the Council of Churches to all churches in the country about the president’s lack of consultation about the covid lockdown restrictions:
This is one of our fundamental misunderstanding we always have within ourselves, why because; we totally declined to educate and try hard to understand the religion. “SHEIKH JAH”, thank you so much for your comments though you didn’t go further. Politically motivated, people have started criticizing the President’s actions towards his announcement, about how to tackle and stop this deadly(VIRUS COVID 19)in this small tiny country Sierra Leone. If the President nothing, they will go after him again saying he does nothing to protects his people. On many occasions, the Prophet Muhammed PBH advised his companions to value their lives as the Utmost importance over death in his numerous sayings(Hadiths), urging people to stay away from places where there epidemics. The prophet Muhammad, speaks about the concept of quarantine fourteen hundred years ago says” when you hear that (a plague)is in a land, do not go to it and if it occurs in a land that you are already in, then do not leave it, fleeing from it,” the prophet famously said.
So this saying exactly refers to the principle of quarantine. So why blaming and criticizing the president’s actions?. There are 5 pillars in Islam, the last is(HAAJ), the scholars and the gov’t of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia cancels” HAAJ” because of pandemic Covid 19, and allowed a small numbers of people mostly from the kingdom itself to perform the Pilgrim, to prevents the spread of Covid folks, what’s wrong with President decision?. Believe it or not, most of these folks that are arguing, criticizing the president’s action, not even frequently visiting these two holy houses, neither Mosques nor Churches.
As the Covid-19 outbreak continues to kill thousands of people across the globe, our prophet advice on how to respond to pandemic offers a motivation to people to stay homes and protect themselves. My fellow Sierra Leoneans, let’s put politics asides and fight against this common enemy(Covid-19). For the past week, I have listened to so many what’sAPP audio recordings, people criticizing the President saying” why are we voting someone in as our leader who is” KUFFAAR” know nothing about Islam? why not we vote our brother muslim in, so that he can understand us when we preach to him about Islam?. Quran (53:verse32) says” So do not claim yourselves to be pure; He is most knowing of who fears Him”. Try to know and understand the religion, read books you will come to get a better arguments. May God guide our country Sierra Leone.
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This is nothing but to undermine the president’s effort to fight this deadly disease. Here in United States all churches and religious venues were closed for many months to fight the Covid.