Before that, they were checking on a 77-year-old man. There would be more calls ahead. Of that, there was no doubt.
As the clock neared six in the afternoon, Mintz and Abu Jama realized it may be their only break of the shift. The two members of Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s emergency response service, paused to pray. Mintz, a religious Jew, stood facing Jerusalem, his white and black prayer shawl hanging off his shoulders. Abu Jama, an observant Muslim, knelt facing Mecca, his maroon and white prayer rug unfurled underneath him.
For the two paramedics, who routinely work together two or three times a week, the joint prayer was nothing new. For so many others, it was an inspiring image in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic
A picture of the two men snapped by a co-worker quickly went viral, garnering thousands of likes on social media and appearing in international media coverage. One user responded on Instagram: “I’m proud of all of the rescue services, it doesn’t matter from what community or religion.” On Twitter, another user said: “One fight! One victory! Let’s unite.”
“The fact that it is so simple makes it so powerful. I believe that Zoher and I and most of the world understand that we have to raise our heads and pray. That’s all that’s left,” Mintz told CNN. A father of nine who lives in Be’er Sheva, the 42-year-old is a full-time MDA worker who trains volunteers.
The Franciscan Custodian of the Holy Land reflects on the significance of a common prayer raised to the Lord by believers of the three Abrahamic religions in the sacred city of Jerusalem.
By Linda Bordoni
The leaders of the three Abrahamic religions – Christians, Jews and Muslims – prayed together in Jerusalem on Thursday amid the global Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.
The initiative, taken by the Mayor of the Holy City, took place at 12.30 pm local time at Jerusalem City Hall and saw the presence of representatives of other faiths as well, including Druze and Bahai.
Speaking to Vatican Radio before the common prayer, the Franciscan Custodian of the Holy Land, Father Francesco Patton, highlighted the significance of this moment and explained that every religion was to recite a prayer according to its own tradition.
“We will be together to pray to the Almighty God that this pandemic may stop,” Fr. Patton said explaining the initiative has a deep spiritual significance.
“It is important in itself because we are all believers with the same roots; and thanks to this same root we can express with faith and with confidence our prayer to God the Almighty,” he said.
The common prayer comes on the heels of a joint communiqué, issued on 21 March, in which the leaders of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Latin, Greek Orthodox and Armenian) expressed their hope that “in this dangerous situation all the children of Abraham could pray together to the Almighty to ask for protection and mercy”.
FULL ARTICLE FROM VATICAN NEWS
The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing governments and news sources to provide the most accurate and helpful advice to the world’s population, as the disease is indeed global in reach. Health care professionals are in high demand, and so too are scientists who study the transmission and effect of pandemics.
Experts like immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci and medical reporter Dr. Sanjay Gupta are saying that good hygiene and quarantining, or the practice of isolating from others in the hope of preventing the spread of contagious diseases, are the most effective tools to contain COVID-19.
Do you know who else suggested good hygiene and quarantining during a pandemic?
Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, over 1,300 years ago.
While he is by no means a “traditional” expert on matters of deadly diseases, Muhammad nonetheless had sound advice to prevent and combat a development like COVID-19.
Muhammad said: “If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague outbreaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place.”
He also said: “Those with contagious diseases should be kept away from those who are healthy.”
FULL ARTICLE FROM NEWSWEEK
Christian and Muslim religious leaders reached out Friday across the divided island of Cyprus in a rare show of unity for prayers to overcome the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Archbishop Chrysostomos II, head of the Cyprus Orthodox Church, Turkish Cypriot Mufti Talip Atalay and the Armenian and Maronite religious leaders issued the joint call.
They urged “all other religious and faith community leaders in Cyprus and all sisters and brothers of faith to join them in prayer and action to fight this pandemic together”, in a statement issued by an interfaith group of the stalled UN-sponsored peace process.
They made a special mention of “all doctors, nurses, medical, paramedical personnel and all caregivers who are struggling daily to confront the consequences of this virus”.
They also called on the faithful to “pay very serious attention” to the strict social distancing measures enforced on both sides of the island’s UN-patrolled ceasefire line.
Both the Greek Cypriot-administered south and the Turkish Cypriot have closed schools and shut down clubs, bars, restaurants, prohibited indoor leisure activities and banned all competitive sports.
FULL ARTICLE FROM FRANCE 24
In many religious traditions, there are two relational axes along which our lives are understood. The first is the vertical, between the created and the Creator; the second is the horizontal, among the created and with the rest of creation. Islam has those two aspects as well, with the latter relationship always being viewed through the lens of the former. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a marked effect on the latter relationship, changing the nature of ritual worship in many ways. And at the same time, Muslim sages and scholars have reminded their flocks that the former relationship, between the Divine and those who beseech Him, remains constant and consistent — even if takes different forms in this difficult time.
Over the past week, Muslims around the world have pleaded with Islamic scholars to weigh in on the pandemic to give advice and guidance. The coronavirus directly affects congregational worship in several significant ways due to the “social distancing” advice — not least the ability to attend lessons and classes (because Islam is fundamentally a religion of learning), and funeral arrangements (because of the concern of spreading infection from people who pass away from complications arising from the virus).
It might seem simple to some that congregational worship should be done away with in situations of emergency. But it isn’t quite that easy. There are prayers to be held in mosques that are considered religiously compulsory for many in the community; there are other prayers that are strongly recommended to be performed in a congregation; and many of the pious will go to great efforts to ensure they meet those obligations and recommendations.
As an academic and scholar in Islamic studies, I’ve participated in many of the debates concerning the obligations attendant on Muslims in times of crisis — within my native Britain, in Europe and the United States, in South Africa and South East Asia. The discussions of which I’ve been a part were not, and could not simply be, a matter of identifying the legal prescriptions in the Islamic tradition. Instead, the vast majority of scholars with whom I’ve interacted or whom I’ve observed — from the Higher Council of Azhar Scholars in Egypt, to the British Board of Scholars and Imams in the UK, to the Azzawia Trust in South Africa — were unequivocal that the obligations or recommendations of congregational prayers, including the Friday prayer, ought to be suspended in the face of public health concerns.
FULL ARTICLE FROM ABC.NET (AUSTRALIA)
Those are just a handful of the precautions that the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago
and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago
are each taking to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in their congregations. Both institutions have issued guidelines to clergy, priests and other congregation leaders as more cases of coronavirus are identified across their region.
And as coronavirus continues to spread around the world, religious leaders across several faith traditions are modifying practices and adjusting services. Churches are offering mass online and on TV. Synagogues may stream readings of the Scroll of Esther for Purim. Muslim pilgrimages of Umrah are temporarily suspended.
Here’s a look at some of the ways that religions are adapting to the threat of coronavirus.
In Bethlehem, doors are closed at the Church of the Nativity, considered the birthplace of Jesus. And across Manger Square, the Omar Ben Khatab mosque stands empty as well.
Instead of giving his weekly Sunday greeting at the window in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Pope Francis delivered the Angelus prayer via video link.
Stafford, Virginia — When you’re Muslim and running for U.S. Congress, as Qasim Rashid is in Virginia’s first, you expect vitriol.
“Just some of the most grotesque things that you could ever say to anybody,” Qasim said.
Here’s one example: “We do not need you(r) ilk in our nation. Let alone in any seat of office above street sweeper.”
“I didn’t believe there was a place for them in our government,” said Oz Dillon, who was hoping to rile a response with his comment — and boy, did he get one.
“I stared at the screen just reading it over and over and over,” Oz said. “He reached across that gap and took my hand.” © CBS News
When Qasim looked at Oz’s old Facebook posts, he found lots of offensive comments — but he also learned he had crushing medical debt, to the point where he even set up a GoFundMe account. And that’s when Qasim knew how he had to respond.
He posted this note to his 400,000 followers: “My faith teaches me to serve all humanity. So I’ve donated $55 to his GoFundMe. Please donate if you can.”
FULL ARTICLE FROM MSN NEWS