Austrian residents outraged: Muslims celebrate Ramadan in crowded rooms despite Corona

The “Association of Bosnian Muslims” is said to be celebrating Ramadan in a room crowded with people at the street Arndtstraße 28 in the Meidling district of Vienna.

Raphael F. could watch this from his flat, directly opposite the mosque. He took pictures and videos and could not understand the gathering in Corona times.

To the internet portal unzensuriert he states:

After the decision to extend the lockdown, it is incredibly puzzling to me how it is possible that schools, commerce, gastronomy have to be closed, where livelihoods are at stake, and this association is allowed to be open.

Mr. F. is familiar with the event hall, which is why he informed the police, as in his opinion 50 people in a 200 square metre room cannot keep a two metre distance. According to Raphael F., the police officers who were called replied that religious events were exempt from all measures.

This answer, however, infuriated the man even more. He was not surprised, said Raphael F., that the hospital beds were mainly occupied by patients who had a migration background.

Unzensuriert made an effort to get a statement from the association, but did not reach anyone at the telephone number given on the homepage. When we asked the Vienna Provincial Police Directorate whether religious events are actually exempt from the CoV rules, we got the answer:

For information on the scope and exemptions of the current Covid-19-VO, we have to refer you to the health authority responsible for the ordinance (Magistrate of the City of Vienna) or the responsible BMSGPK.

An enquiry to the Vienna City Health Council remained without response. A look at the homepage of the Archdiocese of Vienna revealed the following:

A distance of at least 2 metres to other persons who do not live in the same household is required. Appropriate precautions are to be taken for this (e.g. cordoning off pews). The minimum distance stipulated in these framework regulations may be violated if this requires the performance of religious acts – however, an FFP2 mask must be worn when doing so.

In the video of the resident, it can be seen that the people leaving the mosque are at least wearing masks. The distance, however, will be impossible to comply with, given the number of participants in Friday prayers stated on the association’s homepage, namely 500.

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