New Delhi: Many people linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation, which was held in Nizamuddin in Delhi, have tested positive for coronavirus. Six deaths of people related to this event were reported in Telangana Tuesday and this communalised the coronavirus pandemic. Some people have started blaming Muslims. However, many religious congregations have spread this virus.
The first such group was in South Korea. A 61-year-old woman, Patient 31, of South Korea attended two congregations of a Christian cult in Daegu city. Both these events had more than a thousand attendees. Within a week, the number of coronavirus cases in South Korea crossed a thousand. Patient 31 was termed as a super spreader as the number of cases in Korea kept on increasing.
Baldev Singh, a preacher, had gone to Italy and Germany. He violated the home quarantine order after returning to India. He attended the Hola Mohalla festival with tens of thousands of people and visited homes to give his blessings. Out of the first 33 cases in Punjab, 32 were directly linked to Singh. Now, Singh is termed as India’s super spreader.
What is Tablighi Jammat
Tablighi Jamaat, a non-political global Sunni Islamic evangelical movement of Indian origin, has now been termed as the “largest known viral vector” of the novel coronavirus in South Asia. Tablighi Jamaat (or society for spreading faith) is a missionary movement that focuses on urging Muslims to return to primary Sunni Islam, particularly in matters of rituals, attire 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”.
In February, approximately 16,000 Tablighis gathered at a mosque in Malaysia from across the region. 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. Even in Pakistan, 27 members of Tablighi Jamaat, out of the 35 screened at their headquarters in Raiwind, tested positive for coronavirus Sunday.
Many people returning from pilgrimages in Iran were also coronavirus-positive. It is reported that nine of the people in the Army’s quarantine facility, who were brought back from Iran are infected by the disease. Iran had closed down its shrines, but hardliners are seen forcing their way in. Other religious places are also closed due to the pandemic.
Mecca has been closed by Saudi Arabia and Hajj is likely to be cancelled this year. It has been cancelled 40 times since the year 629. The Christian festival Easter, next month, too, will be affected by the pandemic.
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