Recent media reports on a Jain gathering in alleged violation of lockdown are being used by a section of media and commentators to save Maulana Saad from being held accountable.
The argument is that any religious gathering can act as a superspreader of the virus, and any religious group can violate the lockdown, so to pick and target Tablighi Jamaat is ‘Islamophobia’.
Of course the members of any religious group can violate the lockdown, and any religious gathering can potentially spread the virus. That has never been a point of debate.
The point is whether religious leaders encouraged their followers to actively violate the lockdown and other social distancing measures in the name of religion.
Maulana Saad and other Muslim preachers clearly told their followers that the virus was "Allah’s weapon" that wouldn’t subside by material measures, and the lockdown was a conspiracy of kafirs to drive the Muslim community away from Islam.
No mainstream media channel reported the full text of Saad’s speeches. You can read them here.
In a series of articles on Tablighi Jamaat-Covid-19 episode, we dug into the kafir-hate propaganda carried out by such preachers over the pandemic.
Here is a summary of what was preached —
- Virus is a weapon sent by God to punish kafirs — "there is no way the virus will affect kafirs and believers the same". This makes spreading the virus by spitting etc a service of God. A preacher in India was caught on camera: 'pray that virus kills up to 50 crore Indians'
- Since virus is a soldier of God, measures against it, like the lockdown, are a conspiracy of kafirs to drive Muslims away from their religion — "Satan is using this opportunity to lead us astray from our religious duties in name of precautions, treatment and protection”
- Pandemic will not subside by worldly measures like social distancing etc. and "only the kafirs rely on the material remedies and resources". This is why social media was flooded with videos of young Muslim boys mocking masks, social distancing etc.
- Don't heed advice of doctors because "..how to fight diseases..do the doctors know? No.."’; only listen to them if they are strictly practicing religious Muslims. Don't copy kafirs fighting "God's wrath" (virus), because the universe runs according to believers not kafirs.
It was, most probably, the result of this kafir-hate propaganda that we witnessed attacks on healthcare workers, policemen, harassment of nurses, intentionally spitting, urinating, defecating etc. by the Tablighi Jamaat members.
No Jain preacher is reported to have given similar sermons.
To compare Jain gathering with Tablighi Jamaat Delhi event without reporting what Saad said in his speeches is dishonest.
The kafir-hate propaganda over the novel coronavirus caused a serious harm not only to the fight against the pandemic, but also to the social fabric of the country. But instead of holding Saad and other such preachers accountable, the media seems to be indulging in blatant whitewashing of their crimes.
A 25-year-old IIT alumna with deep interest in society, culture and politics, she describes herself as a humble seeker of Sanatana wisdom that has graced Bharatvarsha in different ways, forms and languages. Follow her @yaajnaseni
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