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Tablighi Jamaat congregation and how religion has been the ‘super spreader’ of coronavirus

In episode 432 of #CutTheClutter, Shekhar Gupta talks about the role of religion in the spread of coronavirus.

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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.

Also read: Preacher who was Punjab’s 1st Covid-19 death could have been a ‘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.

Watch the latest episode of CTC here:


Also read: Tablighi Jamaat blames ‘govt planning’ as BJP, AAP attack it for spike in Covid-19 cases


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  1. Dear Shekar Gupta
    I have reading and listening to your opinions online, and watching your prohrams, I regard you highly as one of rhe few unbiased journalist but unfortunately I find this article only pointing to Markaj or Jamaat, while you also kept mum over the Punjab and other temple events that the Godi media is hiding, I wish you have included this Punjab story and also temples where such lapses happened mainly due bad communications and mismanagement by different authorities. Here is the snippets from Hindustan times snippets with link for anyone interested to read the full story in Hindustan Times, which says 25000 people were quarantied, which BBC says there were 40,000


    A 70-year-old religious preacher from Punjab’s Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, who returned home from Germany earlier this month, has emerged as a possible super-spreader who likely infected 27 people, government officials said on Friday. The preacher or ‘granthi’, Baldev Singh, died on March 18 and is, until now, Punjab’s only Covid-19 victim.

    Singh was found to have been infected by coronavirus only after his death on March 18. Since then, health authorities have been racing against time to trace his contact history and quarantining people who came in contact with him.

    Out of five cases that were confirmed on Friday, four were in contact with Singh. At least 20 villages in three districts – with a total population of nearly 25,000 – have been sealed because Singh visited these areas after his return from Germany on March 7.

    Banga sub-divisional magistrate Gautam Jain said at least 700 people who had come in close contact with Singh had been quarantined.

  2. Tabligi is a virus more dangerous than corona and they are trying to spread since years with money from wahabi saudis. Hope this shall stop now

  3. Is it possible and I mean is it ever possible under the laws of Science and nature that muslims as a collective group can deliberately with malicious intent do something wrong .In the universe of THE PRINT : no. where no means “NEVER EVER EVER”

  4. Yes,yes they will only talk on very serious issues like what serial is telecast on television?
    They are very busy to comment on silly issues!

  5. The following information published in BBC:
    “”Image copyright REUTERS
    The captain of a US aircraft carrier carrying more than 4,000 crew has called for urgent help to halt a coronavirus outbreak on his ship.

    Scores of people on board the Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for the infection. The carrier is currently docked in Guam.

    “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die,” Captain Brett Crozier wrote in a letter to the Pentagon.

    Captain Crozier recommended quarantining almost the entire crew.

    In the letter Captain Crozier said that with large numbers of sailors living in confined spaces on the carrier isolating sick individuals was impossible.

    The coronavirus’ spread was now “ongoing and accelerating”, he warned, in the letter dated 30 March.

    “Decisive action is needed,” he said.

    “Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed US nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure. This is a necessary risk.”

    It is not clear how many crew members on the Theodore Roosevelt have the coronavirus. The San Francisco Chronicle, which first reported on the letter, said at least 100 sailors were infected.

    Speaking to Reuters news agency, a US Navy spokesman said the service was “moving quickly to take all necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of the crew of USS Theodore Roosevelt”.””

    Dear fellow citizens,
    Now, it is amply clear that the coronavirus pandemic is a extraordinary situation which has been faced by humanity globally. Whether rich or poor or army personnel or doctors or religious persons or ordinary citizens, all are on same page. They are being caught unaware, no one was ready to handle this situation so the unintentional mistake or foolishness occur. Even the most competent highest authority and head of Indian government failed to visualise the effect of sudden nation wide lockdown. As a result lacs of daily wages labourers come out in the street in fear or in hunger and decided to go home not to be safe there but with a logic if death is destined why not at home. Though this is foolishness on their part but cannot be said intentional to become carrier of COVID-19 virus and put the life of their family and others at native village in danger. So, to say Muslims Tablighi jamaat religious fellows gathered at Delhi Murkaz and later dispersed as usual of their own and remaining odd 2100 shifted by Delhi government in hospitals, were deliberately spreading coronavirus. This is not at all justified. Yet, certain media houses are trying to put them in dock in the name religion. A governor of Kerala State is even too eager to blame Muslim jamat of Tabligh fellow as if they are dangerous people and even called for strict action against them. This is unfortunate that a person holding constitutional post and playing politics even in this grave situation. One fellow on national TV news debate yesterday even started calling it a bio-jihad of tablghi jamat. How unfortunate this remark. It is disgusting that one can stoop so low for the sake of some political privilege. How can nation is safe if such irresponsible persons are allowed to divide nation in the name religion. This fellow who call them bio-jehadi in order to create enmity among citizens of India, must be taken care of by law. The point is, instead of blaming such sudden gathering of people due reason not on their control should be looked at with sympathy rather with contempt and consequently put their life in danger in society. Media houses should also show some responsibility not to air such view on national TV debate. This hamper the government and citizens effort to fight with coronavirus pandemic as well. Hope somebody is listening.
    Adv. Shakil Akhtar
    Supreme Court of India.

    • @Shakil Aktar:
      You must be living under a rock or willfully blind.
      TJ followers have carried out terrorist attacks all across the world, from France to USA.
      It is well known that they are intolerant of other religious traditions- even other Islamic sects.
      If I need a lawyer, I wouldn’t hire you- you note is illogical, biased and confused.
      What does a US Navy ship with sick sailors have to do with Islamic terrorists waging #corona jihad.

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