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How Tablighi Jamaat emerged as the ‘largest known’ Covid-19 source in South Asia

From Malaysia to Thailand, Pakistan and now India, Tablighi Jamaat has spread the coronavirus further from its large congregations.

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New Delhi: Tablighi Jamaat, a non-political global Sunni Islamic evangelical movement of Indian origin, has emerged as the “largest known viral vector” of the novel coronavirus in South Asia. Its religious congregations are said to be the source of hundreds of positive cases of the disease in the region.

In India, the Ministry of Home Affairs is in touch with various states to identify the over 3,000 people, among them foreigners from other Southeast Asian countries including Covid-19 hotspot Malaysia, who had taken part in a Tablighi Jamaat gathering in the national capital’s Nizamuddin area in early March, sources told ThePrint.

The sources said many have been identified and steps are being taken to test and isolate them.

Immigration Bureau sources told ThePrint that a list of all those who came from abroad has already been sent to the state governments along with the known addresses.

They said the list is an overall one and does not identify the Tablighi Jamaat people per se since they did not come to India on a missionary visa.

At least 10 people who took part in the Nizamuddin gathering, including Tablighi Jamaat’s Kashmir head, have succumbed to the disease in India.

In Telangana, the government has identified six such deaths.

In Kashmir, the police has prepared a list of those who attended the event and also appealed to the public to come forward and identify themselves.

“We are working proactively to identify those who took part in the meeting,” a senior officer involved in the operation in Kashmir told ThePrint.

Of the 37 confirmed cases in Kashmir alone, at least 18 attended the Nizamuddin event or came in contact with those who attended, the officer said.

Six persons who had attended the Delhi gathering have tested positive in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and cases have also been reported from Tamil Nadu.

The Malaysia connection

It was in February when about 16,000 Tablighis gathered at a mosque in Malaysia from across the region.

The New York Times reported that the participants in the 16,000-strong gathering of the world’s biggest Islamic missionary movement had spread the coronavirus to half a dozen nations, creating the “largest known viral vector in Southeast Asia”.

“More than 620 people connected to the four-day conclave have tested positive in Malaysia, prompting the country to seal its borders until the end of the month. Most of the 73 coronavirus cases in Brunei are tied to the gathering, as are 10 cases in Thailand,” the daily reported.

On 18 March, Al Jazeera, quoting Malaysian Health Minister Dr Adham Baba, reported that only half of the Malaysian participants who attended have come forward for tests, raising fears that the outbreak from the mosque could be more far-reaching.

Even in Pakistan, 27 members of Tablighi Jamaat, out of the 35 screened at their headquarters in Raiwind, tested positive for coronavirus Sunday.

What is Tablighi Jamaat

Tablighi Jamaat (Society for spreading faith) is a non-political global Sunni Islamic missionary movement that focuses on urging Muslims to return to primary Sunni Islam, particularly in matters of rituals, attires, and personal behaviour.

Started in 1927 by Muhammad Ilyas al-Kandhlawi in Mewat, India, it has been called “one of the most influential religious movements in 20th century Islam”.

Also read: 24 people who attended Nizamuddin congregation test positive for Covid-19

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  1. The best thing that occurred in Malaysia was how quickly the police captured and isolated them. It was so well done .so today Malaysia is the best performing country

  2. Only again and again doing such foolish acts, why? Uneducated fools i guess ? Ya sochi samzhi.sajish.
    Enough is enough these mongers should be arrested and made to.cry in jails for rest of there lives….such acts endanger everyone’s life and have ruined many economically. These people will never understand they are idiots to assemble when clearly it was mentioned not to….arrest them

  3. Only again and again doing such foolish acts, why? Uneducated fools i guess ? Ya sochi samzhi.sajish.
    Enough is enough these mongers should be arrested and made to.cry in jails for rest of there lives….such acts endanger everyone’s life and have ruined many economically. These people will never understand they are idiots to assemble when clearly it was mentioned not to….arrest them

    • Go to India times and see how people have gathered in temples to chant ignoring basic necessary measures enforced by the government to overcome COVID 19, are you people illiterate. You are the people who believe to divide and rule.

      • Well, what is the point of your whataboutism?!

        How many non-muslims have reported infections from such religious congregations?!! It is our fault and the Tablighis have done the same in several countries.

        Our job now is to admit our fault and cooperatie with government, police and especially Medical professionals. Stop giving excuses.

        If you have any respect for our faith and Prophet, if you ever heard his story of stopping epidemic, stop blaming others.

  4. In my opinion, how this mass gathering occurred in nizamudin, and the city officials IAS and IPS doesn’t aware about this. And if they were known about this, then if the whole country lockdown is going on, Then why the people’s came out of nizamudin mosque. This is going to be a disaster in the country, noved corona virus COVID-19. This is a kind of pre planned explosion by Muslim or terriost. Or some political issues.

  5. Why they don’t obey the rules and regulations of our society? If possible ….÷€$&^$^=&&# from our the society.😡

  6. The religious nature of the gathering isn’t the point here. It’s the fact that several participants entered the country on different pretexts and now are reluctant to come out in the open so that surveillance (in the epidemiological sense) can take place. It’s unclear why the group waited so long to ‘come out’. And yes, the gathering it seems was illegal. Just because it was planned for months isn’t an excuse.

  7. The readers who are making irresponsible comments should first read Press Note issued by Markhaz. No doubt it was irresponsible the Markhaz did not cancel the event, but those who came to clap, bang Thali and took procession also responsible for spread. How do we know some in such crowd across did have virus.

  8. Extremely alarming.
    What many people don’t know that this society for “Spreading Faith” is a secretive society with no clear cut internal hierarchy, source of funds unknown. Also not very well known is that it is one of the largest spreaders of Islamic Jihadist ideas in the world, under the scanner of many intelligence agencies worldwide…..for example it is the father of the Harkat Ul Mujahiddeen and many different offshoots in countries like Burma, USA and Africa where its presence is growing. In the USA for example it converts close to 30,000 African Americans annually to its cause, mostly working through the penitentiary systems in the US.
    This aspect needs to be investigated as well.

  9. In my openion it is absolutely not acceptable. They suppose to enlighten people according to their religion. But they are contributing their effort in spreading death. They should think over this and come out from conservative thinking.

  10. Shameful act of taking lives of people and spreading virus. Such preachers are virus for community irrespective of any religion.

  11. जितने भी लोग वहां पर मिले ना सभी को नोटिस दिया गया था उसके बावजूद उन उन में कोई हलचल नहीं की गई और वह उसके बाद भी वही रहे इसके लिए वही जिम्मेदार और उनकी वजह से अगर बीच में किसी भी लोगों को कोरोना वायरस फैलता है यह देश में किसी भी प्रकार की जनहानि होती है उसके लिए वही लोग जिम्मेदार होते हैं और यह लोग बहुत बातें करते ना संविधान की आज वही लोग सविधान तोड़ रहे हैं मेरा मानना है इन लोगों ने संविधान तोड़ा है इन्हें देशद्रोही मानते हुए सजा देना चाहिए

    • I agree what they did was wrong I am no in support pf any group who made a gatherings in recent days may it be tirupate divotees in 40thousand no.s may it be big fat wedding in Karnataka or yogi’ s ayodhya program after lockdown..these are all violated the law..they all are anti nationals. But I don’t know how many or if any positives among other larger crowds as no media dug into this the way this incident is been portraited…this was happened during early march when India had not even thought of shutting schools..govt was busy buying MLAs..all of you know well what happened.. Govt was so negligent until 24 march when MP became under them..and a sudden lockdown…with 4hrs duration. Such a unplanned and messy work by govt today we had to see this…all the gatherings should have been banned from march 1 itself.. We knew this is pandemic it’s spreading.. At least screening in airports should’ve done much earlier and isolation wards should have made ..had plenty of time to manage this but the govt just sat and watched on going …they had money for everything horse trading , statue namaste trump ,building walls, but asking citizen to donate now. Pointing out one sect for whatsoever not mistake of them is wrong.

      • Tirupati closed totally on one notice this Jamaat event was not provided with a permission and even police warned them. so, it’s not a mistake of muslim or Islam . it’s a complete irresponsible jamaat.

        Telangana has only 4000 ventilators, 2,000 people attended this event, just imagine if patient number crosses 4000. like Italy we have to through our elders to death and save the young..

        This virus doesn’t look at religion. it is going to kill muslims first as they took it in the jamaat first. they are hiding as if they have done some mistake. once it is serious it will be tough to save them. If possible give message to those hiding from their own health. Yesterday nurses who visited their colonies were hot with stones. just imagine after 14 days what these stone throwers will do. they will beg for life with the same healthcare professionals. please speak about the health of these 8000 muslims who attended

  12. I was deluded that The Print is a sensible voice in the times of media terrorism but Alas!

    I hope Mr. Shekhar Gupta & team will take due care for preventing this respected media outlet sliding towards “Soft Arnab” or New Kejriwal attitude before it is too late.

    • Dear Abdullah,

      Which part of this news you didn’t understand. Is it a fake news, has somebody created this news. Grow up man, you will be treated as terrorist till you don’t understand what is right and wrong. Gathering in so much of crowd IS WRONG. if you cannot understand this much, then tear up your degree, if you have any. The print is sensible journalism, they have spoken about hindutva in past and they have spoken about Islam as well. Think rationally

  13. Our backwardness being the backwardness of the mind, our mental spaces stacked with the lumber of useless and archaic ideas. Ayaz Amir, The News dated 3rd Jan, 2014.

  14. Was it held at the time when congregation was banned or any other regulations were in force? If yes, then stern action needs to be taken against these people. If no, then why authorities allowed such a congregation in these times?

  15. It is atrocious piece hurriedly written. How come the virus which got originated in China’s Wouhan has now been given religious colour to this particular community. Yes Islamic heads have miserably failed their community as quite often they issue Fatwas for non serious issues, but on life saving, they did not do so and allowed large gatherings in Nizam Uddin dargah. When gathering happened in hazrat nizamuddin, even other communities did not take large gathering seriously as we saw on 14 Hour Janata Curfew evening at 5.00 pm and also soon after Kamal Nath resigned. Why for current toll those crowd are not responsible. No doubt because of irresponsible act of Talibigi Jamaat, the entire community who are still following the lock down seriously. Let’s not add one more when we are tackling Covid 19.

  16. i expected fresh and different perspective of write-up from a website like yours. everything was on newspapers.

  17. There are examples and examples to validate the argument that islamists are the most foolish people in this world. Even a scientific study may show the same results. Any body who think the religious books written thousands of years back have the ready solutions for today’s problems is due prolonged conditioning of their minds with religious education.

    In today’s India only edited versions of religious books be allowed for religious education in India. This rule should apply to all religions.

    • Very true. As a muslim I totally agree with this suggestion. We need to reform and should be applied to all religions

    • U r a fool chap universe has been created by lord of universe Allah …… lord has guided humanity through his book al Quran which will not change till dooms day …..whatever today is due to tableegis does not mean they have spread it… actually Islam is practised in most nations therefore there is more possibility of intermingling between people of different creed,language,colour,nationality therefore more chance of spreading their habits ,phenomena’s than other religions therefore make Nd ur goals

    • In South Korea, (and also in US) there have been large Christian church gatherings that spreading it unknowingly while doing large group prayers. So yeah organized religion.

    • Dr, scholars already told them stop this type of action, but people are not ready to lesson them. All our scholars agree on this stop praying in masjid.

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