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Sunday, 31 May 2020

Egypt cancels Islamic Israa and Miraj celebrations over fears of coronavirus spread

Ahram Online , Saturday 14 Mar 2020
Kaaba
Muslim worshippers circumambulate the sacred Kaaba in Mecca's Grand Mosque, Islam's holiest site, on March 13, 2020. (Photo: AFP)
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Egypt's endowment ministry announced that the annual Israa and Miraj celebrations will be cancelled this year due to fears of the spread of the novel coronavirus.
 
The ministry said it had agreed with the chiefdom of Sufi movements to devote the Friday sermon on 20 March to talk about the Islamic event, and to broadcast live a joint scientific symposium on national television on the "lessons learned from the great miracle."
 
The ministry, however, will not hold any mass or festive activities on the occasion.
 
In Islamic belief, Israa and Miraj is a miraculous journey that Prophet Mohamed embarked on one night from Mecca to Jerusalem and heaven.
 
The Israa and Miraj anniversary is observed on 27 Rajab, the seventh month in the Islamic calendar, which coincides with 22 March this year.
 
In his statement on Saturday, endowment minister Mokhtar Gomaa explained that the ministry decided to cancel the celebrations as a "precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus."
 
The ministry had earlier decided to limit the activities of mosques to prayers and Friday sermons in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. It said it was preferable the sermons do not exceed 15 minutes.
 
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Egypt has reached 93.
 
Since its outbreak in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, coronavirus (COVID-19) has infected more than 145,000 people globally and killed more than 5,500.
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