By Faranak Bakhtiari

Why Iran, unlike others, held mass prayers successfully amid pandemic?

May 16, 2020 - 23:22

TEHRAN – With the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, the governments around the world announced restrictions on social and religious gatherings, but some religious people started to violate the rules endangering others’ lives. However, Iranians reacted positively and observed health protocols outlined by the government standards even during Ahya nights.

Ahya nights, also known as Laylat al-Qadr, is a religious ceremony to mark the eve of the 21st day of the fasting month of Ramadan, which is one of the most significant events of the holy month of Ramadan, being held this year on May 13, 15, 17.

Iranian people could go on the ritual safe with the observation of hygiene principles after the government announced to open the mosques and holy shrines regarding the safety standards.

While, in South Korea, a Christian gathering at a church, in Malaysia, a gathering of 16,000 Muslims in a mosque, and in New York, a gathering of Orthodox Jews has led to the widespread of the disease.

In New York, despite the ban on large gatherings, several Jewish weddings and funerals were held in violation of public health orders.

While there have been high-profile incidents of police disrupting Jewish gatherings, the New York City Police Department has also made arrests of various sorts for failing to practice social distancing. 

And pictures of throngs hanging out at parks and closely congregating for the Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds flyovers were released.

Early on in the pandemic police made arrests at large Jewish gatherings, a local news station reported that a school bus was carrying children to a Jewish school that was open, illegally. 

Also, in Israel, it was Lag Ba-Omer, a Jewish holiday traditionally celebrated with mass gatherings around roaring bonfires. Thousands usually visit the site at this time of year, but in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic the Israeli government issued a decree ordering that from May 7 to 13, "gathering on the area of Mt. Meron will be prohibited except for local residents or people who need to go there for work."

It didn't work. Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews turned up on Mt. Meron Tuesday in defiance of the ban, according to CNN. In the end, 320 people were arrested for violating health and security measures.

The mass arrests are the latest incident in a global trend with dangerous consequences, a segment of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community from Israel to London to New York are refusing to obey social distancing orders.

This is while no serious violation or arrest has happened among Iranians who soon accepted to follow the protective rules and stay with what government wanted them to do and break the transmission chain.

In comparison to other countries combatting the global epidemic, Iran is benefiting from the strong belief which initially comes from Islam; Iran almost always has been backed by God, Iranian people are total believers, and their paying attention to moral and ethics might be their key to their success in such crises.

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