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Following the announcement by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that all places of worship will reopen from October 7, there has been a demand for 'halal'-certified sanitisers in the Muslim community.
Leaving no stone unturned in following Covid safety protocols, some mosques, kabrastans, and the Mahim and Haji Ali dargahs have imported 'halal' sanitisers from Turkey, stocking up on non-alcohol-based sanitiser for use by visitors to these places of worship.

Suhail Khandwani, managing trustee, Pir Makhdum Saheb Charitable Trust (Mahim Dargah) and trustee, Haji Ali Dargah Trust, told the FPJ, "We are preparing standard operating procedures (SOPs) because the Maharashtra government has already given us a date - October 7 - to open all religious places of worship. Covid isn't just a medical issue but it is also a psychological issue, where people need to turn to places of faith."

Both Mahim and Haji Ali dargahs have formed teams of volunteers who will ensure 'halal' sanitisation of devotees.

"There is a company in Turkey providing us halal sanitisers as the use of alcohol in a place of worship is prohibited in Islam. This sanitiser has silver content." Khandwani said, Muslims travelling to the Gulf even get perfumes which are non-alcohol based.

"We are on a religious platform where alcohol is prohibited for us, so we have sourced it from west Europe. We have tied up with this company and it is proven to have more efficacy than alcohol-based sanitisers," said Khandwani.

Riyaz Sayed, managing director, Silperox, said, "This sanitiser is manufactured in Turkey with two components, mainly hydrogen peroxide and colloidal silver. This is nano-technology patented in Turkey and has halal certification from Saudi Arabia as well. It has zero alcohol and we have done actual testing of the liquid at the NSCI Worli Dome Covid centre under the supervision of their doctors."

Sayed said that the testing was done in the most contaminated ICU zone in the NSCI dome and swabs were sent to different centres. "In less than a minute, it proved the efficacy of the sanitiser, as it killed the Covid virus," he said.

Because it is halal-certified, there is a great demand from a certain section of the community but at the same time, there is huge consumption in Russia, Germany and Britain, who are the largest importers of the product. The sanitiser has other uses as well.

"The Muslim community and many hospitality business houses are our clients. With other alcohol-based sanitisers, the hand dries from overuse, furniture fixtures are stained over time or rusted. This halal sanitiser is certified by international laboratories as not causing deterioration. It leaves no toxic residues on devices, no patient contraindications, contact dermatitis or respiratory distress has been observed," said Sayed.

Silperox will be provided to the two dargahs, Mahim Kabrastan, Bada Kabrastan, Wadala Masjid and a few other mosques in Mumbai.

"Visitors to any religious place or faith and not just mosques, should avoid alcohol-based sanitiser," said Sayed.

Sayed reiterated that there was no staunch view in Islam that alcohol cannot be used for medicinal purpose but it is a huge component of sanitisers at 70 per cent; besides there is an alternative which serves the purpose with more efficacy.

Khandwani also informed that Mahim dargah was ISO certified in 2007 and it has its own SOPs on preventing contamination and keeping the area virus free.

"Social distancing will also be observed and only 30 people will be allowed at one time inside the dargahs, instead of 150," said Khandwani.
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