Mosque in Ohio Reopens After 5 Months of Virtual Worship

Photo: Ihram

Ohio, MINA – COVID-19 has clearly brought about a major change in the way people practice religion and express beliefs. Many mosques and other houses of worship are closed due to the pandemic.

However, in Ohio, the Noor Islamic Cultural Center welcomes worshipers again after five months of virtual worship.

“We don’t really accept anyone in the mosque here. But I am praying at the mosque here, and we are trying to display it online so people can follow us,” said Imam Abdel Moneim ad quoted from About Islam on Sunday.

Noor Islamic Cultural Center is the largest mosque in Central Ohio. It used to accommodate up to 800 worshipers before the pandemic.

Now, only 150 people can pray together inside the building as yellow ribbons mark the six feet distance between people.

“I think we have 100 or 150 people just six feet away, a maximum of 150,” said interim director Azhar Masood.

Although Ohio Governor Mike DeWine did not order places of worship to close their doors when the pandemic hit, mosques and other places of worship closed their doors voluntarily.

“It helps a little, but it’s not at all. So it’s hard to practice your prayer.” said Masood.

When they return to normal, Masood hopes the pandemic will end soon after being hit by budget problems due to the difference between pre and post-pandemic donations. Pre-pandemic, the value of donations ranged from 10 thousand to -12 thousand a month, while during the pandemic the value was less than 2 thousand to 3 thousand US dollars.

Visitors like Asma Mostafa were also relieved to have the opportunity to pray at the mosque again. “Zoom doesn’t replace being here physically in the middle during that time,” Mostafa said.

The number of Muslims in Columbus, Ohio, has increased significantly in recent times, with many seeing this as having a large and positive impact on the economy.

The Pew Research Center estimated in 2017 that 3.45 million Muslims live in the United States, up from 2.35 million in 2007. In that country, and in Ohio, Muslims make up about 1 percent of the population, according to the 2014 Pew study. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)