If there are weaknesses tell us what they are say religious leaders


Two of New Zealand’s religious leaders agree that the progress made in getting on to of SARS-CoV-2 should not be put at risk.

But they are asking the government to just let them know about any perceived weaknesses in the practice of religion so that they can fix them.

The president of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Patrick Dunn says he appreciates the prime minister’s belief that New Zealand is still at quite a vulnerable stage.

“We all understood the reasons, and we knew that the Government was trying to keep us safe, and we were all trying to support the move to avoid the spread of this pretty deadly virus,” Dunn said in a Newsroom report.

But Dunn challenged the prime minister’s presumption that people at religious gatherings, whether it’s mosques or temples or churches, would automatically be breaking that safe distance rule.

New Zealand Muslim Association president Ikhlaq Kashkari says Kashkari says New Zealand’s Muslim community was fully accepting of the lockdown, noting that “human life takes priority over us being able to pray in the mosque”.

However, Kashkari says the 10 person limit on religious gatherings came as a shock because he had carefully outlined his health and safety plans to the Government.

They included worshippers bringing their own prayer mat, CCTV, and an online booking system to keep numbers under 100.

“Then you take something like a restaurant or even a game of rugby where people have contact and that’s allowed and we’re not allowed,” he said.

Dunn and Kashkari agree that New Zealand’s gains should not be put at risk; their question is whether allowing religious services to resume, with suitable physical distancing and other public health measures, would do so.

If there are any weaknesses in our processes then let them know and they can fix them Kashkari says.


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