Religious Gathering In Indonesia Stopped Amid COVID-19 Fears

Photo Credits: News 5 Cleveland

Indonesia: At the time of corona virus, officials of many countries warned people to stay at home because isolation can help prevent the spread of the virus. The problem is that people arent always rational. As Fox News reports, around 10,000 Muslims and Christians amassed at a pair of religious gatherings in Indonesia Thursday as the island nations officials were struggling to keep people separated during the coronavirus outbreak.

We've worked hard in dealing with this issue, involving religious leaders and security forces, South Sulawesi Gov. Nurdin Abdullah said. We have told the pilgrims that we are in an emergency state of coronavirus and only common discipline can break the COVID-19's wide spread.

One of those gatherings was organized by a Muslim missionary movement, Jamaat Tabligh, which held a similar event in Malaysia three weeks ago.

That same event was linked to nearly two-thirds of Malaysias 900 infected.

For days, authorities were trying to persuade Ijtima Asia, part of the global Tablighi Jama’at movement of evangelical Muslims, to halt the event at Gowa near the city of Makassar in South Sulawesi province. “Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), Ijtima finally agreed to postpone/cancel,” the head of Gowa regency, Adnan Purichta Ichsan, posted on social media late on Wednesday.

After resisting the closure of the event and defiantly stating "we are more afraid of God" than the coronavirus on Wednesday, organizer Mustari Bahranuddin said he would follow the directive to cancel the prayer rally. But he said it would be difficult to quickly disperse the crowd, many of whom had arrived by ferry.

"We need a process to send the participants home," he told Reuters on Thursday. "The ship has its own schedule."

At the Indonesia event, many Muslim pilgrims gathered together for what was supposed to be a four-day gathering but it was not approved by authorities. After the event was put on hold, Abdullah said medical teams screening more than 8,600 of its participants found a local man with a fever who was taken to a hospital.

Sentot Abu Thoriq, a member of the organizing committee, told the Associated Press he regretted the government's decision to reject the event that had been planned more than a year ago and he said "The decision and the treatment is clearly against our faith and hurt us." He added, “Health, illness or death is God's destiny, we believe that God will bless and protect those who are devout."

Abdullah said 411 attendees from nine countries, including Malaysia, Singapore and Saudi Arabia, will now be quarantined at a hotel.

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