Wavering intent: Plan to reopen places of worship gets mixed response

first_imgThe government’s plan to gradually reopen places of worship has drawn mixed responses from religious groups and health experts, many of whom insist that any possible easing of curbs anywhere should be contingent on low risk of transmission.For Muslim-majority Indonesia, where faith plays a large role in society, the pandemic has shuttered various mosques, temples and churches and prevented people from holding mass prayers.However, the debate has managed to open a can of worms that pits public health against the right to practice religious beliefs. “There should be a guarantee from experts and authorities that can be held accountable. Only if these terms are fulfilled can we think about reopening, and even then only with strict [health] protocols,” Abdul told The Jakarta Post.Rev. Japarline Marbun, head of the Bethel Church of Indonesia’s (GBI) synod, also said it would be better to err on the side of caution, considering how difficult it is to put in place the necessary health protocols in some churches.“It is difficult, for instance, to expect congregations not to jostle as they enter the church, and there are many churches closed off with [poor] air circulation,” Japarlin said.And while some preach about the importance of relying on science to ensure public health, others still find it hard to heed state-sanctioned physical distancing measures.The nation’s top Muslim clerical body, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), which comprises many organizations including NU and Muhammadiyah, said that places of worship should be allowed to reopen their doors to worshipers in areas deemed safe from COVID-19 transmission.“Under conditions where the spread of COVID-19 is under control, Muslims are obliged to carry out Friday prayers and allowed to get involved in mass prayer activities […] so long as they stay mindful of not getting infected,” said Asrorun Niam Sholeh, the MUI’s fatwa commission secretary, in a statement.Last week, Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi signed a circular detailing the necessary protocols for reopening places of worship in areas deemed to have little risk of viral transmission.“The guidelines stipulate that any religious or social activity at a place of worship must take account of the real circumstances in the immediate vicinity and not just the status designated for that given area,” Fachrul said in a virtual press briefing on Saturday.“Even if, for example, an area is considered a yellow zone, if COVID-19 transmission is found anywhere near a place of worship, that place cannot host any collective prayer.”In order for a place of prayer to be reopened to the public, Fachrul said the local COVID-19 task force must recommend it in coordination with the relevant authorities. Recommendations can also be revoked if new infections are recorded or if there is a perceived lack of health protocol enforcement.Three months after Indonesia reported its first COVID-19 infection, the government has come under fire for not acting swiftly enough to curb the spread of the disease among the nation’s devout – the millions of people who are accustomed to attending mass congregations and collective prayers.A recent report from the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) found that the lack of an early response to ban mass religious gatherings in the early days of COVID-19 transmission had contributed to the emergence of two infection clusters: the Gowa cluster linked with a tabligh (Muslim mass gathering) in South Sulawesi, and another from a religious seminar by GBI in Lembang, West Java.“The lack of clear guidance on enforcement or sanctions could lead to unfortunate outcomes: new clusters of religious ‘super-spreaders’ or vigilantism, as some groups decide to take law into their own hands,” researchers said in the IPAC report.The city of Brebes in Central Java was designated a COVID-19 “red zone” early last month after 16 of its residents tested positive for the disease after returning from the Gowa tabligh event, while 127 people were infected from the Lembang event.University of Indonesia epidemiologist Pandu Riono said that restrictions on places of worship should be eased gradually and that the government should be prepared to conduct local testing and tracing should COVID-19 cases increase following the reopening of such locations.There are always going to be concerns about violations or if [proper health protocol] is not observed,” Pandu told the Post.“If people in a congregation from mosques or churches catch [the virus], the entire group should be tested and [places of worship] should be temporarily closed.”Topics : Robikin Emhas, chairman of the country’s largest grassroots Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, said the current circumstances called for a thorough assessment of the options and should take various factors into account, including the rate of infection and the preparedness of the national healthcare system.He said that any state policy should consider the actual conditions in the field as they relate to the infection curve, as well as the ability to contact-trace, quarantine and treat COVID-19 patients.“As an exit strategy for the current large-scale social restrictions, a ‘new normal’ should be studied and prepared thoroughly so it may foster a productive livelihood for a society that is safe from COVID-19,” said Robikin, a vice presidential advisor.Abdul Mu’ti, secretary-general of the nation’s second-largest Muslim group, Muhammadiyah, voiced a similar opinion, saying that reopening places of worship should not be done with haste, calling instead for the government to focus on prevention.last_img read more

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Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma keeps churning through busy summer at Team USA camp

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersAs Davis, the Lakers’ new star, works to ingrain himself into his new team and town, Kuzma, 24, has his eyes firmly set on a trip to China this summer for the FIBA World Cup. The roster practicing in Las Vegas this week under coach Gregg Popovich is characterized by who’s missing as much as who is available: Davis, James Harden, Bradley Beal, DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love are among the players who declined invitations to play this summer. Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton and Kyle Lowry are the only 2019 All-Stars who are attending a camp typically defined by headliner talent.It’s surely a bit demanding: The 40-day experience will call for a trek through Southern California, Australia and eventually China, where a relatively untested group will be thrown in with the best competition international basketball can offer. Kuzma, who has gone from a fringe roster candidate to a near lock to make the final cut, is fully bought in.“At the end of the day, I love playing basketball,” he said. “Can’t take it for granted. When I’m 37, 38, I would look back and ask, ‘Why didn’t I play FIBA when I was 24?’ I want to live with no regrets.”Kuzma generally has few. But one thing he wished he hadn’t done last season was take too long off. This offseason has been a blur: Kuzma already has visited China this summer, on behalf of Nike and working on other business ventures. Beyond appearances at Summer League alongside Davis and LeBron James, he also headed up another year of his summer camp in Michigan, and has generally been jet-setting since April.Donovan Mitchell, another Team USA roster hopeful and a close friend, says Kuzma’s stacked schedule is something he admires. They take cues from each other: When Kuzma hired a personal chef, Mitchell decided he needed one, too. He saw Kuzma working out immediately after he came back from overseas last time, and it inspired Mitchell to jump back onto the court after he did some traveling himself, he said. Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years center_img Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed “We push each other to be better,” he said. “That relationship allows us to push each other in different ways. Not a lot of friends do that.”Team USA could be a watershed moment for not only Kuzma, but for the 2017 draft class. Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox and Miami’s Bam Adebayo are also among the players in camp this week, seizing advantage of the stars’ absences.Related Articles LAS VEGAS – Though they’re all wearing the same jersey for the next few weeks, Kyle Kuzma has only started getting used to being surrounded by enemies.Not enemies per se — just NBA rivals. But it’s a pronounced imbalance: Between the Team USA senior men’s national team and the Select Team roster, the Celtics, Kings, Nets, Bucks, Nuggets and Hawks are among the teams with multiple players on the court at UNLV during training camp.As the only Lakers representative, he can feel a little outnumbered.“It’s lonely,” he said, with a hint of tongue-in-cheek. “My boy [Anthony Davis] was supposed to come, but he’s got other plans.” Kuzma said he thinks his all-around game has developed over the summer since the Lakers ended their season in April. Video clips of his improved shooting stroke have circulated online, and it could be a moment for him to showcase improved perimeter offense that he’s expected to bring next year.“Keeping it high, using my wrists and be strong flicking it, use my legs,” he said. “I don’t want to be overthinking it. Just those three things, and trust the process.”The early days of camp have helped Kuzma and the rest of his Team USA mates break down their NBA rivalries. He said over time, he expects to “smash” some of the walls between his regular season foes.But he’s taking notes as well: “You kind of get the tendencies for guys and what they wanna do. You see how a lot of that plays into guys getting recruited to play with each other, or scouting teams come playoff time.”last_img read more

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