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Statement from the Management Board: 20/05/2020

 

Assalamu alaikum,

 

I hope you are all benefitting from the blessed month of Ramadan which is almost at an end. There is still time to increase your spirituality and reap the unbounded rewards of Ramadan.

 

Important: Fitra (£5:00 per person) must be paid before Eid Salaah.

 

We will confirm eid day on the evening of Friday 22nd May insha'Allah, whether it will be Saturday or sunday.

 

All Masjids in St Albans/London Colney will remain closed to the public, including Eid, until further notice

 

Eid Prayer

 

In these unprecedented times you have the permission to perform Eid Salaah at home. There are two options:

 

1) Where sufficient household members exist

You can perform congregational prayers.

For Khutba you can recite surah Al-Asr for first part and then surah Al-Kauthar for second part. Optionally include eid takbeer (Allahu akbar Allahu Akbar, La ilaha illallahu wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa lillahilhumd)

For prayer, make intention for two rakahs with 6 takbeers; three takbeers after thana in the first rakah, three takbeers after second surah in the second rakah

 

2) Where insufficeient household members exist or you are not comfortable with the congragational salaah 

You can perform Chasht salaah individually after sunrise.  Make the intention for chasht and pray two lots of two rakahs as per normal prayer.

 

Whichever option you choose the prayer must be completed after sunrise and before Dhur prayer.

 

 

 

 

***** CORONAVIRUS LATEST *****

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Statement from the Management Board: 11/05/2020

 Update ***

Further to today's detailed guidelines, all Masjids in St Albans/London Colney will remain closed to the public, until further notice

 

Assalamu alaikum,

I hope you are all keeping safe and well, and able to take advantage of the lockdown to increase your Ramadan duties. We are already into day 18 of Ramadan and it seems to be passing very quickly.

You may have watched the address from the Prime Minster, yesterday evening, to review the lockdown and find ways to open up Society in a limited and controlled way. For some, there was little clarity, other than the fact the responsibility has been passed from Government to individual businesses and employees to make choices and provide protected working practices.

There was no direct address for places of worship but was referred to under a general heading and how social distancing must be adhered to and PPE equipment must be available as needed. A full 50 page report will be made available this week which may provide further details.

The risk of an increase in Covid cases is still very real and the danger will be greater with the slight easing of the lockdown as seen in other countries such as South Korea. We will keep monitoring the government, medical, and religious advice and the facts to base any changes to the enforced Mosque lockdown.   We also know our BAME community is at greater risk than others so we have to be even more diligent.

The Mosque will stay closed to the public at this time until a clearer picture emerges and we can provide a safe environment for religious practices.

Stay safe and enjoy Ramadan in these unprecedented times.

 

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Statement from the Management Board: 24/04/2020

Assalamu alaikum. 

Operation Hypnos (the county’s multi-agency group considering the impact pf excess deaths as a result of Covid-19). The group has been discussing the impact of Covid-19 on the bereaved and what can be done to support them through this difficult time. It was felt that the information that is out there regarding attendance at funerals can be confusing. Hence they have developed a single webpage to guide the bereaved through the current restrictions. www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/funerals

London Road Cemetery was opened this morning for visitors; harris fencing has been installed in 3 sections at London Road Cemetery to prevent public access to open graves; this also includes the Muslim section FF.  The fencing will be moved around these sections as other graves are excavated and prepared for burials. Apologies to those families who currently aren’t able to access particular graves and hopefully we will be able to get back to normal cemetery service soon.

 

Hopefully you are all staying safe and feeling well on this first day of Ramadan. Each day between asr and maghrib tilawate Quraan will be transmitted and every other day the imam will deliver a short darse insha'Allah. Adhan will be given for maghrib so people can break their fast; please do not attend the masjid and perform your prayers at home.

If anyone has any questions or concerns you can contact the masjid by phone or email given on our contact page.

Make the most of the isolation and increase your religious devotion and duties at home.


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Statement from the Management Board: 14/04/2020

Assalamu alaikum. 

Sadly Dr Khalid Jamil passed away, may Allah SWT grant him the highest status in Jannah and give strength and patience to the family he leaves behind, Ameen. His burial will take place on on Thursday insha'Allah.

The government has announced a further period of lockdown, which means their is still great rick to the publick from Covid-19. Please stay at home, stay safe and Remember Allah SWT asking for his help during this difficult time.

The Ramadan and salah timetables are available on this website http://www.stalbansislamiccentre.co.uk/Resources.aspx. Kindly print for people who may not have internet access.

 

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Statement from the Management Board: 10/04/2020

Assalamu alaikum. 

Today was the funeral of Brother Mohammad Hanif who sadly passed away on Wednesday evening. May Allah SWT have mercy on him and grant him a place in Janatul Firdos, and grant strength and patience to the family he leaves behind.

I want to recognise and thank the SADC cemeteries team who have been exceptionally helpfull with this burial which means so much to the family and the community. Gratitude must also go the volunteers who selflessly helped with the funeral. 

Sadly there other brothers who are also in a critical condition and I would request everyone to make dua and pray for their complete recovery.

Government guidance still applies so stay at home and be safe. Please make dua for us all.

 

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Statement from the Management Board: 08/04/2020

Assalamu alaikum. 

The following is a guidance describing burial of a Covid-19 infected body. It has been used twice already and approved by the council. During this difficult times we need to adhere to the laws whilst performing the rites as best we can.

 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious the Most Merciful

Guidance for Ghusl, Shrouding, Janazah and Burial during the Covid 19 Pandemic

Firstly, in normal circumstances, it is required for the deceased to be given a full ritual ghusl (bath), kafn (shroud), Janazah salah to be offered and for the deceased to be buried. Thus, there are certain mandatory rites afforded to the Muslim deceased, but, in such circumstances, the Divine Law permits certain relaxations of these rites:

‘So fear Allah as much as you are able’ (64:16)

‘Allah does not burden a soul except within its capacity’ (2:286)

‘There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm’ (Ibn Majah)

 

Secondly, the concept of washing the deceased is a ‘ritual’. The main objective is not to necessarily ‘clean’ the deceased – rather, it is to continue the ritual done by the Prophet (saw) in ritually washing the body, when possible. The deceased’s body is not considered ‘impure’, whereby it has to be scrubbed and cleaned to remove impurity, rather, it is similar to the concept of wudhu – a ritual cleansing.

 

Therefore, taking into consideration the instructions given by Allah and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw), as well as recommendations from the local authority and many masaajid / organisations, we have decided to implement the following process for deceased of St Albans, London Colney (and nearby surrounding areas) who die from the Covid 19 virus:

 

  • The body will be brought straight from the hospital to the cemetery. The body bag will not be opened at any time, to reduce risks, in line with recommendations mentioned above.
  • In the cemetery, only a maximum of 5 family members will be allowed (those who have not been in contact with the deceased for at least 7 days), as well as the volunteers. PPE must be worn if you will be in close contact with the body.
  • The body bag will be wiped over once, using wet hands (wearing gloves) either at the hospital or inside the transporting vehicle. This does not need to be done, as the circumstances exempt us from washing the deceased at all, but it is in order to at least do something similar to the ritual laid out for us by our Prophet Muhammad (saw). After wiping over the body bag, gloves must be changed.

NOTE: Tayammum would not be done, as that would involve opening the body-bag.

  • Kafn (shroud) will be laid out on the board beside the grave (on which the body is normally placed, before burial) The body will be lowered on to the board and the kafn will be wrapped around the body (around the body bag). If there is no kafn available, the body bag will suffice as kafn. Avoid as much contact with the body as possible.
  • Janazah salah will be performed. Attendees should maintain distancing from one another and not stand shoulder to shoulder. It is encouraged to have an odd number of lines.
  • The body will be lowered into the grave. SADC have kindly allowed the body to not be in a coffin, as long as the body is adequately sealed / wrapped, but this may change.
  • Attendees may be allowed to put in a few handfuls of soil. They will then need to move away at least 10 metres and allow the grave to be filled by the Cemetery workers.
  • After the grave is filled, attendees may be allowed to go near the grave for final moments and duaa (a maximum of 5 minutes)

Alhamdulillah, we have a group of volunteers, specifically for Covid-19 deaths. We can manage everything from the moment the body is ready for collection from the hospital.

M Abdul Muhit

 

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Statement from the Management Board: 06/04/2020

Assalamu alaikum. 

Ramadhan

Performance of congregational prayers is very much dependent on the lifting of the current lockdown by the government; we will keep you updated the best we can. The ramadhan timetables are available for download on the website http://stalbansislamiccentre.co.uk/Resources.aspx 

 

Burial of a Covid-19 case

Sadly there has been a Covid-19 related death in the community, but alhamdullillah the family were able to organise the janazah and burial. We cannot comment on the specifics but will share any procedural learnings being gathered that may be useful for future cases.

 

Help in hospitals


The acute trusts are responding well to the challenge of COVID-19. At West Herts NHS Trust an increasing number of wards and clinical areas have been turned into spaces where patients with COVID-19 symptoms can be treated. More than 350 staff have now been trained (or retrained) on the use of ventilators and other equipment to support patients with respiratory symptoms.

Watford General Hospital 

You will have heard of the temporary closure of Watford General Hospital’s A&E department on Saturday until around midnight when it re-opened. The hospital had declared a critical incident due to pressure on its oxygen systems. 

It has become apparent that works to overhaul Watford General's oxygen system had been planned but were put on hold. The local MP Daisy Cooper has asked the Secretary of State for Health that these are given the go ahead urgently before another critical incident occurs. Second, for hospitals like Watford General which are near capacity, we need to know now what steps will be taken to signpost COVID-19 patients from St Albans and Hertfordshire in real time, to the nearest facilities with capacity.

 

Minor Injuries 

Welwyn Garden City’s New QEII Hospital appears to be only Hertfordshire hospital still open. If you have a minor injury, please attend the Urgent Care Centre at Welwyn Garden City’s New QEII Hospital. The minor injuries unit at St Albans City Hospital has closed temporarily to enable staff to be freed up to support seriously unwell patients, and the Lister Hospital in Stevenage is no longer treating patients with minor injuries or illnesses. If you have a minor injury, use NHS 111 online if possible to find out if you need hospital treatment. The Urgent Care Centre at Welwyn Garden City’s New QEII Hospital has increased staffing to treat people who would have visited the Lister. 


  
St. Albans District Council Small Business Grants portal 


Shops, restaurants and some other small businesses in the St Albans District may be entitled to a Government grant to help them during the Covid-19 crisis. Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 could be entitled to £25,000. Those with a rateable value of up to £15,000 could be eligible for a grant of £10,000. Other small businesses from any industry that currently qualify for small business rate relief or rural rate relief are also in line for a £10,000 grant. None of this money needs to be paid back to the Government. St Albans District Council is committed to getting these payments to businesses as soon as possible. St Albans City and District Council is distributing the cash within its area and an application is not necessary as it can identify qualifying businesses. However, to make the payments, the Council may need information it does not currently hold. So, it is asking eligible local businesses to provide details by using its new online portal: stalbans.force.com/guest/s/coronavirus-grant 

Kidney disease patients 


Kidney Care UK has published up-to-date advice for kidney disease patients here: 
www.kidneycareuk.org/coronaviruswww.kidneycareuk.org/coronavirus  


 
Internet provider bills


The UK’s major internet service and mobile providers, namely BT/EE, Openreach, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, O2, Vodafone, Three, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, and KCOM have all agreed to as set of commitments. 
All providers have committed to working with customers who find it difficult to pay their billas a result of Covid-19 to ensure that they are treated fairly and appropriately supported.
All providers will remove all data allowance caps on all current fixed broad band services.
All providers have agreed to offer some new, generous mobile and landline packages to ensure people are connected and the most vulnerable continue to be supported. For example, some of these packages include data boosts at low prices and free calls from their landline or mobile.
All providers will ensure that vulnerable customers or those self-isolating receive alternative methods of communication wherever possible if priority repairs to fixed broadband and landlines cannot be carried out.
Please contact your own provider if you’re having trouble paying the bill. 

 

 Policing update


Hertfordshire Constabulary remains in a good position staffing-wise as we head into the Easter period. As you know, the new police powers have come into effect reporting people who are not following the government social distancing guidelines. Primarily this will involve engaging with and encouraging the public to observe the new ‘stay at home’ regulations. The public have been asked to report any non-essential gatherings using the online webchat.

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Statement from the Management Board: 03/04/2020

Assalamu alaikum. 

Please verify before you Amplify.

There is so much information/mis-information on social media which is propagated without verification causing unnecessary distress. Please verify before you amplify.

 

Moving into peak period for Covid-19

Please continue to folow the expert advice. The risk from Covid-19 is still very high, the number of reported cases is still growing currently in excess of 38,000, as we move into the peak period over the coming week. The devastating effect of this virus is hitting all members of the community and especially those with other under lying ailments. Yesterdays death rate was 684 in one day and reportedly this number is doubling every 3.5 days. Social distance, isolate, but keep active.

Masjid Professionally Deep Cleaned

Alhamdulillah our masjid is being professionally cleaned from top to bottom, so should be ready when the lockdown is lifted. There have been no reported cases of Covid-19 in our community but we took the decision and the opportunity to deep clean and disinfect every part of the masjid.

 

St Albans Minor Injuries Unit Temporarily Closed

The Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at St Albans City Hospital will close temporarily from the end of business on Friday to allow West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust to direct clinical staff to treat its sickest patients.

With fewer than ten people a day attending the St Albans MIU over the last week, West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust has decided to redirect these skilled staff to support its response to the COVID-19 outbreak. They will either be caring for patients who are very unwell or filling in for colleagues who are now working in newly created areas for patients suffering from severe COVID-19 symptoms.

The MIU will therefore close at its normal time of 8pm on Friday 3 April and will remain closed for at least the whole of April. Given the recently low attendances the temporary closure is not expected to present problems for large numbers of local people. It will reopen when circumstances permit.

Patients with minor injuries should visit 
https://111.nhs.uk, the 111 online service. This will provide advice on where a patient should go for their symptoms. People should only phone 111 if they cannot get online.

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Statement from the Management Board: 02/04/2020

Assalamu alaikum. 

Cemeteries have been forced to close

Three cemeteries run by St Albans City and District Council have been shut to visitors because of the Covid-19 public health emergency. Burials and graveside services will still be allowed but only five mourners will be permitted with social distance rules applied. Services will be limited to a maximum of 30 minutes.
The closures follow Government instructions in The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020 that apply nationwide and are not a local decision.
The cemeteries involved are Hatfield Road and London Road, in St Albans, and Westfield Road Cemetery, in Harpenden. The chapel in Hatfield Road and
cemeteries office are also closed.
Councillor Anthony Rowlands, Portfolio Holder for Community, Leisure and Sport, said: “We had no choice but to close the cemeteries with immediate effect because
of emergency legislation. The gates at all three facilities have been closed and notices put up asking people to stay away.“
I can understand that this will not be easy, and some people will be upset that they cannot visit the graves of loved ones at this time. It is not a decision we wanted to take nor one we take lightly. We will re-open all cemeteries to the public as soon as it is safe and legal to do so. In the meantime, we hope people will understand thereasons for this necessary action.“
The new Government regulations are designed to protect our community by ensuring social distancing and limiting the spread of Covid-19.” Cemetery staff can still be contacted to discuss arranging a funeral or other business through a MyStAlbans District Account or by calling 01727 819362. Details of how to set one up are available on the Council’s website:
Councillor Contact: Councillor Anthony Rowlands,
Portfolio Holder for Community, Leisure and Sport
Email: cllr.a.rowlands@stalbans.gov.uk
Tel: 07761 232064

 

 

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Statement from the Management Board: 01/04/2020

Assalamu alaikum. 

The number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in Hertfordshire continues to rise. Some reports state that Herfordshire in the 9th highest Authority in England.

Salaah Timetables

The April Salaah timetable is available on our website and can be downloaded, also available on MyMosque App. Printed copies are available at Madinah Food Store, Asian Food Store, and Marhaba. 

Food price hikes

There have been reports about different food outlets in St Albans hiking up their prices. In some cases this may be due to increased in prices from suppliers, in others it might be opportunistic. If you wish to report a business, you can do so via the Citizens Advice consumer service (which operates on behalf of Trading Standards) and they will decided whether or not to investigate https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/report-to-trading-standards/#h-how-to-report-a-trader-to-trading-standards

 Renters and Landlords


Parliament has adopted measures so that nobody is forced out of their home as a result of this epidemic. The full package available to renters (social and private) and landlords can be found here:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-support-available-for-landlords-and-renters-reflecting-the-current-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak 

Cremations and Burials


The Government’s emergency legislation has been amended, following concerns raised by those of all faiths and none, regarding the prospect of forced cremations. Now, local authorities, when carrying out these duties, must have regard to the person’s wishes, if known, or otherwise in a way that is consistent with the person’s religion of belief.

 

Ramadhan 2020

We will prepare for Ramadhan 2020 as usual but dependent on the lifting of the lockdown we may not be permitted to gather at the masjid and would request people are prepared to fulfil their duties at home. The timetables have been prepared and will be available to the public very soon, and the likely start date is 24the April (subject to sighting of moon).

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Statement from the Management Board: 29/03/2020

Assalamu alaikum. 

 

Please follow government advice, stay at home and keep social distancing. It is predicted the virus will continue to grow over the next three weeks and the death rate is on the increase. In particular, the elderly must be protected.

Stay at Home, Keep connected to your community, Support Vulnerable and Isolated

Clocks go forward

The clocks went forward by an hour today.

 

Prayer Timetables

The prayer timetables for April are available online - on our website, and aslo on MyMosque App for mobile phones. We will also be leaving printed copies at halal food stores on Hatfield Road.

 

Covid-19 Information Flyers

(Translated in multiple languages)

Doctors of the World COVID-19 information                               

  

Doctors of the World are really pleased to be able to share with you Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for patients in 20 languages, which were produced in partnership with the Red Cross, Migrant Help and Clear Voice.

Available now: English, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Dari, Farsi, French, Hindi, Kurdish Sorani, Malayalam, Mandarin, Pashto, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese
Coming VERY soon: Polish, Punjabi, Romanian. Link:

https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/coronavirus-information/

 

Guidance in Urdu:

Urdu_guidance.pdf

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Statement from the Management Board: 28/03/2020

Assalamu alaikum. 

Alhamulillah we were able to perform a janazah and burial yesterday for a Muslim lady from Welwyn Garden City who passed away of natural causes. As per the guidelines the attendees were kept to a minimum and everything went very smoothly at this very difficult time. Thank you to Hatfield Council and the very helpful and courteous John O,Connor contractors on duty, the grave was prepared, floor lined with wood chippings, and they used machinery to help with the backfill.

 

Thank you NHS!!

 

Urgent dental care
All dental practices have been requested to establish (independently or by collaboration with others) a remote urgent care service, providing telephone triage for their patients with urgent needsduring usual working hours, and whenever possible treating with:advice, analgesia, and antimicrobial means where appropriate. The regional commissioner will then inform the Directory of Services (DOS) lead so that 111 are up to date with the correct information. 
 
Clinicians returning to NHS and care professions
If you are a doctor, nurse, widwife, pharmacist or other health and care professional, and are considering returning to the NHS, more information is here: www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/returning-clinicians/
 
ACAS – free employment law helpline and webinars
Acas are the workplace experts, funded by BEIS. They are advising employers and their workers through the Acas Helpline 0330 123 1100. They are running weekly live Twitter Q&A sessions with Acas experts (every Friday at 10:30).  
There are advisory webinars for employers too, and multiple dates are available. These free webinars will provide practical advice for employers to help manage the impact of Coronavirus in the workplace.
 
Sport England -#StayInWorkOut campaign
With people mostly confined to their own home following the latest government advice, Sport England’s ‘Join the Movement’ campaign will give people fun and creative ideas on how to get active at home and encourage them to share their own experiences and join the movement online using the hashtag #StayInWorkOut.  The campaign will have its own online hub to give access to a range of home workout options. For more info check: www.stayinworkout.org 
 

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Statement from the Management Board: 27/03/2020

Assalamu alaikum. 

Please do not travel to the Masjid, with regret:

No Jumu'ah Congregational Prayer today.

 

Shielding constituents – new HCC phone line for care needs 
If you are a vulnerable ‘shielding’ constituent you should receive a letter from the NHS this week with details on how to access help. In addition, if you need help with care (or if you know someone who does), you can contact Hertfordshire County Council Adult Care Services on this new helpline: 0300 123 7577
 
Volunteer support from Communities First – information leaflet coming
Communities First will deliver a leaflet to every household so that everyone in our area knows of their existence and has contact details. If you need help, they can help you. You can contact Communities Firston020 3559 3559.Every volunteer has a DBS security check, requires two references and must provide ID. This is a safe way of accessing volunteer support. If you are not vulnerable and don’t have symptoms, please volunteer without delay. Individuals can sign-up using: www.communities1st.org.uk/COVID-19-community-signup
 
Citizens Advice Bureau - service changes 
Citizens Advice St Albans District has announced that face-to-face advice services in the St Albans Civic Centre, as well as outreach services in Harpenden, Redbourn, London Colney and Wheathampstead, will be suspended for the foreseeable future.
People who have already booked appointments should not attend and should call Citizens Advice St Albans District on 01727 811118for a telephone appointment.
 
There are a number of ways people can continue to get advice during this time.
● Visit the Citizens Advice website at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ for advice and to chat online to an adviser 
● Get help with a new claim for Universal Credit by calling the Universal Credit Help to Claim line on 0800 1448444.
● Call Citizens Advice St Albans on 01727 811118between 10am & 4pm to request a phone appointment with local advisers.
● Visit www.castad.org.uk for local webchat and email advice
● Seek general advice from the Hertfordshire Adviceline service, which people can reach by calling 03444 111 444, or 03000 3300 650from a mobile.
● Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133, or chat online to an advisor on our website, for advice on consumer issues (e.g. issues related to products or services you've purchased).
Waiting times for some of these services may be slightly longer than usual as we adapt to our new patterns of working.
 
Which? Consumer rights advice - insurance, cancelled travel and events 
Which? has created a consumer rights hub to keep people updated with useful information and advice: https://www.which.co.uk/news/coronavirus/
It is completely free for anyone to access, and brings together all the latest news, updates and advice on issues related to Covid-19. This includes what people should do about cancelled travel arrangements, postponed events and insurance issues; right through to helping people to spot fake news and scams, how to manage their finances if they find themselves in an uncertain situation, and recommending technology to help them stay in touch with elderly and self-isolated friends and family. 
 
Scammers now targeting by text message 
Do not open Links on text messages from senders you do not recognise. There are scammers sending text messages which claim that you can get an HMRC goodwill payment by clicking the link. This is a scam. You should not click through to any links sent by text messages that you do not recognise. 
 
Household Waste Recycling Centres – keep your bulk waste at home! 
Over 500 residents have tried to access our Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) since the Government announced restrictions on non-essential travel. All HWRCs in Hertfordshire are closed and visiting an HWRC is not essential, please do not try to go to one.  

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Statement from the Management Board: 26/03/2020

Assalamu alaikum. 

Alhamdulillah it is wonderful to hear and see people mobilising to reduce the virus impact on the community. Although the enforced lockdown continues, people are able to hold virtual meetings to provide community support. The biggest challenge currently is around burials, but we are able to continue with them especially for natural deaths. We have arranged one funeral and burial for a lady this Friday at Hatfield cemetery.

National Muslim Burial Council is working very hard to ensure burials can continue in these difficult times, and are providing some excellent information on natural deaths and Covid-19 deaths.

Covid-19 Information Flyers (Translated in multiple languages)

Doctors of the World COVID-19 information

Doctors of the World are really pleased to be able to share with you Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for patients in 20 languages, which were produced in partnership with the Red Cross, Migrant Help and Clear Voice.
Available now: English, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Dari, Farsi, French, Hindi, Kurdish Sorani, Malayalam, Mandarin, Pashto, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese
Coming VERY soon: Polish, Punjabi, Romanian. Link: https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/coronavirus-information/

 

Repatriation
Daisy Cooper MP's team continue to work around the clock to help St Albans residents stranded abroad. If you know someone who needs help, please ask them to email her with their full name, St Albans address and postcode, passport number, current location and best form of contact, to Daisy.cooper.mp@parliament.uk

 
Warning to teenagers and older children
Officers on patrol across the county over the past 48 hours have come across several groups of older children and young adults who appear to be flouting the government’s lockdown measures, put in place to help control the spread of COVID-19. Parents are urged to discuss the issue of the COVID-19 crisis with their children, together with the reasons behind the school closures and lockdown measures taken. Children and young adults who are stopped by officers within our community in mass groups will be engaged with, educated around the risks and parent/guardian details will also be obtained. New police powers are due to come into effect tomorrow (Thursday 26 March) to allow officers to enforce the lockdown measures. Further details of these powers will be released shortly. 
Officers will however be considering using existing powers in the meantime, under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, to disperse groups and will issue Community Protection Notices directing people not to gather in a certain area, if they refuse to comply. If you see a group of people gathered in public, please report this to police by using our online reporting portal, or our webchat service. Both can be found at www.herts.police.uk/report
If a crime is in progress or someone’s life is in danger, call 999 straightaway.
 
District Council - open remotely
St Albans District Council has, like other councils across Hertfordshire, closed their reception desk from yesterday. Customer Services Team are however all still working remotely so can be contacted by phone and email.
 
NHS clinics
No clinics have been operating today from the Civic Centre. Today (Thursday 26 March) Hertfordshire Community Trust will be running their last clinics. We are waiting to hear which of the Central London Community Healthcare Trust clinics will be running or if they will be suspending services.

MOT tests 
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says that from 30 March, vehicle owners will be granted a 6-month exemption from MOT testing enabling them to continue to travel to work when "this absolutely cannot be done from home" amid covid-19 pandemic. The advice is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-cars-vans-and-motorcycles-due-from-30-march-2020
 
Warning: more scams
National Trading Standards is warning people to remain vigilant following a rise in Coronavirus-related scams: https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/article/505/beware_of_covid_19_scams

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Statement from the Management Board: 25/03/2020

Assalamu alaikum. 

First of all, we hope that you and your families are safe from the virus insha'Allah, and able to perform your daily chores.

The Masjid remains closed as per the authoritative advice, but please continue to perform your prayers at home and seek Allah's help during this difficult time. In addition to taking the recommended precautions, please recite the 4 Qul Surahs known as the protecting Surahs (Al-Kafiroon, Al-Ikhlas, Al-Falaq, and An-Nas) and Ayatul Kursi regularly and ask for Allah SWT for protection.

The Masjid Board is able to meet using video conferencing and will continue to share relevant information.

Communities First - if you need help and support and are self-isolating
If you need help (shopping, telephone tech support for online shopping or using skype/facetime etc) whilst isolated, you or someone on your behalf) can complete an online form at www.communitiest1st.org.uk/covid19support or call Communities 1st on 020 8207 5115or email help@communities1st.org.uk 
You will then be either matched with one of the Compassionate Community Connector volunteers, offered support immediately or signposted/referred on to a local voluntary/community organisation.
 
Communities First – how to volunteer
To help those in need, Communities 1st has set up the Compassionate Community Connector programme for people who are healthy and at low risk, to help others.  There is a range of volunteer roles on offer from dog walking and befriending through to call handling and back office functions.  So far more than 1,200 people have signed up to support the service.  If you would like to offer support to someone in your community, you can sign up to the programme using the online form: www.communities1st.org.uk/COVID-19-community-signup or by this new phone number: 020 8207 5115between 1pm – 3pm, Monday to Friday. There is a range of volunteer roles available.      

Parking in St Albans
Parking restrictions are being eased throughout St Albans District to help key workers and residents during the Covid-19 crisis. Civil enforcement officers – formerly known as traffic wardens – have been instructed only to take action against unsafe or inconsiderate parking. They will focus on protecting disabled bays, stopping driveways from being blocked and preventing dangerous parking near junctions. In addition, they will ensure roads remain clear enough for refuse trucks and emergency vehicles to get through. They will also maintain access to loading bays and car parks. The changes will come into effect immediately and are being introduced by St Albans City and District Council in response to the public health emergency. It means key workers and volunteers looking after vulnerable people and maintaining vital services will not need to worry about having the right parking permit. Residents working from home, who are usually away at work with their vehicle, will not need to make an emergency permit application or use up visitor vouchers. 

West Herts Hospital – IMPORTANT MESSAGE
As of 25 March, all non-urgent appointments are cancelled and no visitors are allowed on any hospital sites. For more details westhertshospitals.nhs.uk 

Stay Safe

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Statement from the Management Board: 24/03/2020

Assalamu alaikum. 

Stay at home – new laws and police enforcement powers. Yesterday the Government has announced that it is closing all shops selling non-essential goods, libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship. All social events except funerals will be stopped. Gatherings of two or more people (except people you live with) are no longer allowed. Parks will remain open but gatherings will be dispersed. Everyone must stay at home. People will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes: The only exceptions are:

  • Shopping only basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  • One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person, and
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home. 

These are the only reasons you must leave your home.
 

The Islamic Centre and the Muslim Community will continue to help in every way possible, however there may be more suitable wider communities help through Communities 1st which should also be explored.

Getting support from Communities First – information coming to your . Later this week Communities First will deliver a leaflet to every household so that everyone in our area knows of their existence and has contact details. If you need help, they can help you. You can contact Communities First on 020 3559 3559. Every volunteer has a DBS security check, requires two references and must provide ID. This is a safe way of accessing volunteer support. If you are not vulnerable and don’t have symptoms, please volunteer without delay. Individuals can sign-up using: www.communities1st.org.uk/COVID-19-community-signup

 

Council tax. Residents in St Albans District whose income has been adversely affected by the Covid-19 crisis may be entitled to Council Tax Support. Anyone who has recently lost their job or suffered a sudden drop in wages should first of all apply for any state benefits they may be entitled to. They should do this online at https://www.gov.uk/ or by contacting Jobcentre Plus on 0800 169 0350. Benefits which may be available include Statutory Sick Pay, new-style Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit. Universal Credit can also provide help with rent payments to private landlords, the Council or a Housing Association.In addition, residents can then make an application to St Albans City and District Council for Council Tax Support at  https://bit.ly/2WBlCHZ. The Council’s scheme means residents who receive Universal Credit and are not working will not normally be expected to pay any Council Tax. if you are not entitled to Council Tax Support, the Council may still be able to help by spreading or deferring payments. On the Council’s website, there is a calculator that helps people work out what benefits they may be entitled to claim: https://stalbans.entitledto.co.uk/home/start

Cemeteries and burials -  The council has confirmed that burials will still be permitted and there is ample burial space for the foreseeable future. However there will be limitations on attendance and backfill to avoid the spread of the virus through personal contact:

After yesterday’s announcement we are no longer able to offer the Chapel here at Hatfield Road for any Services, we cannot allow the backfill of any grave and we are limiting numbers at the graveside to 5 mourners only.

We are doing everything we can to minimise the risk to families, and ourselves and sadly this has to take precedence over the wishes of the families.

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Statement from the Management Board: 23/03/2020

Assalamu alaikum. 

The masjid is completely shutdown with no access to the public, as the impact of the virus reportedly will increase exponentially over the coming days/weeks.

Based on the bills being discussed in Parliament, the biggest concern for Muslims is the burial of bodies especially if we start to deplete the available burial grounds. Please do not panic as we are not near that point locally. We are considering other shariat compliant options such as multiple same gender burials in the same grave and also use of Gardens of Peace cemeteris to avoid the unacceptable alternative of cremation. We already have options to intern two segregated bodies in the same grave which is dug deeper for this purpose. 

Covid-19 infected bodies will need special treatment for washing with Personal Protection Equipment which we are trying to source. The biggest challenge is the availability of relevant overalls but we are actively working on this. As an alternative to washing, tayyammum is perfectly allowable.

I had requested the council's cemeteries plan, last week, to deal with this crisis which is still outstanding.

Finally, take all the relevant advice, stay safe and continue your prayers requesting Allah SWT's help. 

I receive regular updates from Daisy Cooper MP and the community relevant items have been summarised below:-

1. Shielding. The Government has announced this evening that around 1.5million high risk people will be asked to “shield” themselves by staying at home for 12 weeks. The NHS will be contacting you in the next few days by letter. This will be followed up by text and by phone, where possible. Carers will be allowed to visit but will be required to practice social distancing and other hygiene practices. If you do not have a network of people to support you, groceries will be delivered by councils, and medicines will be delivered by community pharmacies. Communities First (a volunteer group which is a strategic partner of the Council) will be available to arrange for people to phone you, to have a chat and also to check on your physical and mental health. I recognise that this will be extremely worrying for a number of people. If you believe that you fall into this category and do not hear from the NHS by the end of the week, please do contact me. More information is available online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

 

2. Healthcare workers Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). If you work in the NHS, a care home, or pharmacy and you are struggling to get adequate PPE or are running out: please (1) send me examples if you’re happy for me to raise them in Parliament Daisy.cooper.mp@parliament.uk and (2) complete this BMA survey to help them lobby government: fal.cn/37dae
  
3. COVID-19 Emergency Bill – burials. A number of constituents have contacted me over the weekend with concerns about the COVID-19 Emergency bill provisions, which grant the state the power to cremate people, if the numbers of deaths can’t be managed in the normal way. I have added my name to an amendment, which would require that, if local authorities reach their capacity, they do not proceed to cremate the deceased from faith backgrounds automatically, without the consultation of family/legal guardians and/or local faith institutions. Parliament will likely consider this amendment tomorrow.  
 
4. Toilet roll alternatives - please don’t flush. There are reports from Northumbria that people are using newspaper and kitchen roll if they don’t have toilet roll and this is causing a secondary public health problem with toilets backing up and sewers overflowing. We can avoid that situation locally if we all just buy what we need, give additional supplies back to those who need them now and also refrain from flushing anything other than toilet roll down the loo.
 
5. Misinformation. This is a lot of misinformation about COVID-19 circulating by private networks such as WhatsApp and messenger and on more visible social media platforms. Please do not circulate such misinformation – it could cost lives. Please continue to refer to the NHS online webpages. If you need medical advice, please check NHS online first, or call 111 if you need to speak to someone. Only call 999 in an 

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Statement from the Management Board: 22/03/2020

Temporary closure of St Albans Islamic Centre to the public due to coronavirus pandemic

Assalam-u-Alaikum Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings on His final messenger, Muhammad ﷺ. We ask Allah to grant us patience, to strengthen our reliance on Him, and to increase us in our faith and good deeds.

In light of the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and based on recent Islamic, governmental and medical guidance, we have taken the very difficult decision to suspend all public access to St Albans Islamic Centre, including for the five daily prayers and Jumu’ah, commencing after the Esha prayer on Sunday 22 March 2020. We do humbly request people not to attend with immediate effect.

Number one priority is to protect the community during this difficult time.

We have put measures in place so that our community can get in touch with the Islamic Centre via the website below, and we’re looking at ways we all collectively can give support to the vulnerable in our community.

We have a duty of care to all and ask for everyone’s support and Duas.

We will keep the situation under constant review, and ensure our congregation and community is informed through our website, insha’Allah:

http://www.stalbansislamiccentre.co.uk/

 

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Statement from the Management Board: 21/03/2020

Assalam-u-Alaikum Dear Brothers and Sisters

We continue to monitor the worrying situation, and strongly recommend people perform their prayers at home as the potential risk remains high; currently there are 61 reported cases in Hertfordshire.  Thank you all for following this important advice.

We have been asked by some people who do not have social media/internet access to provide basic guidance via the Masjid which we will do as best as we can until it becomes unsustainable.

There has been some misinformation that Covid-19 related deaths will require cremation, this is incorrect but bodies will need to be handled carefully, especially during the ritual wash in accordance with guidelines issued by Muslim Burial Council and the local Ulama. Additionally, people need to be prepared for burial delays as  the increase in requirements and lack of required outside services may have a knock-on effect.

Schools are formally closed from yesterday until further notice, except for key workers children and the most vulnerable. As such, many teachers will continue to work incredibly hard during a very tough time.

 It appears all inbound flights to Pakistan have been suspended today until 4th April. On resumption the previously required Covid-19 test certificate may no longer be required, but should be confirmed nearer the time. The travel situation remains volatile and all non-critical travel should be avoided.

Everyone is requested to be sensitive to their own and everyone else's needs when shopping, don't be a hoarder whilst your neighbour may be without.

Those affected financially by the virus may be entitled to help through deferment of outgoing payments and even some financial help from the government. You should contact the organisations dealing with this, as there are too many variations to list.

The coronavirus is a reminder to us all of our weak state. Regardless of our social standing and our financial position, we are helpless. Allāh says:

وَخُلِقَ الْإِنْسَانُ ضَعِيفًا

“Mankind was created weak”

Situations like this remind us to turn back to Allāh.  Allāh controls everything and he is the one that can relieve us from our difficulties, we must return to Allāh and seek refuge in him and ask his protection.

In addition to taking the recommended precautions, please recite the 4 Qul Surahs known as the protecting Surahs (Al-Kafiroon, Al-Ikhlas, Al-Falaq, and An-Nas) and Ayatul Kursi regularly and ask for Allah SWT for protection.

 

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Statement from the Management Board: 20/03/2020

Assalam-u-Alaikum Dear Brothers and Sisters

 

Please do not travel to the Masjid, with regret:

No Jumu'ah Congregational Prayer today.

 

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Statement from the Management Board: 19/03/2020

Assalam-u-Alaikum Dear Brothers and Sisters

First of all, thank you to everyone who has been heeding our advice at this very testing time. We as a community must continue to do everything in our power to stop the spread of this deadly pandemic and protect our families, the elderly and the vulnarable. All guidance to contain the virus at the masjid has been fully implemented and we continue to monitor on a daily basis.

It appears that the accelerated spread of the virus and increase in cases of those affected is most likely, so protect yourselves and your families in every way possible. Listen to and follow the expert advice no matter how trivial it may sound. There is no quick fix so we are most likely in this for the long haul.

If you have family or friends who are currently stranded abroad due to the virus travel ban, you can ask our local MP Daisy Cooper to assist daisy.cooper.mp@parliament.uk.

Pakistan International Airline passengers travelling to Pakistan are required to present a copy of the test results for COVID-19 through RT-PCR conducted 24HRS prior to boarding the flight.

Those of you with school children will already be aware of the decision to close schools this Friday for an indefinte period, most likely the remainder of this school year, resulting in cancellation of exams. Ensure your children use this time to continue their education as best as they can, it shouldn't be see as free time.

Please note, we will NOT be holding Jumu'ah prayers until further notice; instead continue to perform your usual Duhr prayers at home (4 fardh); in these exceptional times your spiritual rewards will not diminish insha'Allah. Use the time to get closer to Allah SWT and seek his help to ease this very difficult test for us. 

Finally, we are facing a health and economic catastrophy so be a good Muslim and where you can, assist the elderly and vulnarable either directly or by putting them in touch with someone more suitable. Become a buddy and be a contact point for people who may feel isolated or afraid. 

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Statement from the Management Board: 18/03/2020

Assalam-u-Alaikum Dear Brothers and Sisters

In light of the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with great regret and sadness a decision has been taken based on Islamic, govermental and medical guidance to cancel JUMU'AH congregational prayers until further notice.

Our number one priority is to protect the community during this difficult time.

Some Ulama have recommended, and we endorse, that all salaahs be read at home during these unprecedented times.

Whilst we are monitoring the situation and implementing preventative measures on a daily basis, St Albans Islamic Centre will only be open for Fardh Salaah with certain conditions and limited timings.

It is mandatory that anyone not well, elderly, women and children do not attend the masjid:

  • Limited Fardh prayers will continue, But Sunnah, Nafl, and Witr to be performed at home. Masjid will open just before each Salaah and promptly close straight after fardh salaah is completed.
  • Avoid all physical contact
  • Wudhu will have to be performed at home as Wudhu facilities will be closed
  • Access to masjid will only be from the front side entrance to mens hall.
  • All classes, madrasah, visits and talks have been cancelled

Kindly note, the Masjid may close completely at short notice. We have duty of care to all and ask for everyone's support and duas.

Please follow the advice and keep upto date by visiting the website regularly. Stay safe.

Jazakallah khairun 

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Tuesday 17.03.20

Dear brothers and sisters,
 
Assalāmu ‘alaikum warahmatullāhi wa barakātuhu
 
 
In response to the declaration of Corona virus as a pandemic, the St Albans Islamic Centre is taking necessary actions to ensure safety and wellbeing of its visitors.
 
More than 29,000 people have been tested in the UK, 590 people have been infected, 10 people have died (4 Muslims), more than 20 are in intensive care units.
 
It is very likely this situation is going to get significantly worse over the next few weeks based on the experience of other Countries.
 
All events and classes at the Centre will be temporarily postponed to help contain the spread of the virus.
 
 
Kindly note the Official Health Guidance:
 
• Anyone with a new persistent cough and/or fever should self-isolate for 7 days; do not call 111 or contact other healthcare providers.
 
• If symptoms deteriorate and you feel you need medical care, you should contact NHS 111.  
 
• Testing will only be done for those in hospitals with severe symptoms as the virus becomes more prevalent.
 
 
 
Masjid guidelines and instructions
 
 
For your own safety and welfare:
 
1. All Elderly (over 60 years of age) or those with Chronic Health Conditions (Asthma, Diabetes, Heart Disease), should stay away from the Masjid and pray their 5 daily prayers at home.
 
• Additionally they should not attend Jummah Prayer and pray 4 rakaat Dhuhr at home.
 
 
2. If you have a symptom of fever and/ or a new cough you should NOT attend the Masjid.
 
• There is high risk you could infect others.
 
 
3. Wash your hands regularly (20secs minimum) and especially prior to eating or after contact with others.
 
 
4. Avoid shaking hands and embracing or close physical contact with others.
 
 
5. After each Fardh Prayer at the Masjid please disperse quickly and if possible pray Sunnah Prayers at home.
 
  
6. Please make Duaa and remember Allah in these difficult times to protect us all and keep us all healthy.
 
 
FINALLY, please be prepared for drastic measures such as closing of the Masjid completely, cancellation of Jummah, daily Salahs, combining of Salahs, all of this may happen at very short notice.
 
Further information will be made available after the Board meeting this evening (17/3/20).
 
 
 
JazakĀllah-Khair
 

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