Cele urges religious leaders to discourage gatherings during lockdown

A small group of Muslim clerics pray in Sea Point, Cape Town. Muslims have been told not to congregate, but to perform the fast with social distancing and when possible, at home.

A small group of Muslim clerics pray in Sea Point, Cape Town. Muslims have been told not to congregate, but to perform the fast with social distancing and when possible, at home.
 

AFP/Rodger Bosch

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Bheki Cele is urging religious leaders to discourage gatherings during the national lockdown.

It comes after Muslim worshippers were arrested for breaking lockdown regulations.

On Sunday, the minister apologised for a "blasphemous" remark made to praying Muslims by a policeman enforcing coronavirus rules, which was also condemned by a leading Muslim organisation after being caught on video.

READ: Cele apologises for comments made during arrest at Mpumalanga mosque

AFP reported that an "urgent investigation" had been launched "to establish the identity of the person behind such sacrilege".

Cele said on Monday the police officers were correct to arrest people who were breaking the law.

The minister raised concerns that people decrying the conduct of the officers did not speak out against the people unlawfully gathering.

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