Disease knows no race or religion. It is not only Christians and church attendance in its current form (and which has been practiced before in times of serious pandemics), but other groups that need to be very careful about social contact to minimize viral spread. Many Orthodox Jews have been intentionally flouting the rules and the spread of COVID-19 has drastically increased among them. Now Muslim leaders in Pakistan according to Reuters are trying to get people to work with social contact rules to prevent further spread of disease.
Durrani, 52, is among thousands of devout Muslims flouting Pakistan government orders issued late last month banning religious congregations of five or more people to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The disease has so far infected more than 5,300 people and killed 93 in the world’s second-most populous Muslim country.
“Our prayer leader told us that the virus can’t infect us the way it does Western people,” Durrani told Reuters. “He said we wash our hands and we wash our face five times a day before we say our prayers, and the infidels don’t, so we need not worry. God is with us.”
The Islamic lobby holds immense clout in Pakistan, a country of over 200 million people. Religious parties have not been successful in electoral politics but they are able to whip up large, often violent, crowds on matters pertaining to religion, such as in support of the country’s harsh blasphemy law.
“Religion and prayers are an emotional issue for many people in Pakistan, and the government has to be sensitive to that,” Mirza Shahzad Akbar, a special assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan, told Reuters.
More than 60% of the coronavirus cases in Pakistan have so far been linked to Muslims returning from pilgrimages in the Middle East and followers of the Tablighi Jamaat, an orthodox proselytizing group.
But the worry is of a big spike coming from the congregational prayers held in mosques, especially on Fridays, the Islamic sabbath. The numbers in attendance at prayers are likely to increase with the onset of the holy month of Ramadan within two weeks, and authorities are struggling to cope. (source)
It is very clear how pandemics function. There are few excuses today for real ignorance in the light of such and abundance and concentration of information.
The safest option is to hold out until the illness passes and then to continue as before.
However, as with in the US, there are a lot of people who do not want to do this even though it is the most effective way to stop the disease that we know of right now, especially as there are many details that have yet to be clarified about it. However, all people must work together for the better good of this situation.