Muslims in India have a very high infection rate of Coronavirus compared to other communities in the country. The primary reason behind this has been the millions of Muslims living in Middle Eastern countries who brought Coronavirus while returning to their families in India, and the Tablighi Jamaat event.
A lot has been said and debated about ever since the criminal negligence and indifference of the Tablighi Jamaat event, which accounts for the spread of almost one-third of the total cases in the country.
Some Muslims returning from Middle East countries, who have no link to Tablighi Jamaat event, also became super spreaders.
In Bihar, a person who returned from Oman became super-spreader and infected many people of the family and community. Similarly, in Jaipur, a person who, too, returned from Oman played the role of super-spreader and made the city second hotspot in Rajasthan, after Bhilwara.
In Kerala, too, the majority of the cases were linked to Muslims who returned from UAE.
The question arises is why Muslims have such a high infection rate? Why the majority of the super-spreaders are Muslims, and why they are getting affected so easily.
Well, there are three major reasons behind the spread of Coronavirus.
The first being how constantly one is exposed to an infected person; the second is physical proximity to an infected person, and the third is immunity. In all three sections, Muslims fare poorly; thanks to poverty, and religious conservatism.
Majority of the Muslim families in India are poor and live ghettoized colonies, as pointed out the Sachar Committee report. Muslims have a very high fertility rate and therefore, population density in Muslim colonies is very high. The Jama Masjid area in Delhi, Bhendi Bazar and Dongri in Mumbai are best examples of how a large population of Indian Muslims live in ghettoized colonies with an average family size of more than 10 members.
Given the fact 10-15 family members live in a small house, most of the family members are constantly exposed to each other. The physical proximity to each other is also very high, thanks to their unhygienic practices. The Tablighi Jamaat event is the best example of this.
A report in Swarajya by acclaimed journalist Swati Goel Sharma clears many doubts about the same and also tells us why almost everybody who attended the congregation is testing positive.
The report revealed that there were very few toilets, which too, were in a pathetic condition and which were cleaned only once a day. “At any given point of time in the day, one could not use the toilet without waiting for at least half-an-hour. That’s how crowded the place was,” a Tablighi said.
Further, food was consumed by four men together, from the same big plate with hands. This plate was used by six to seven more batches before it was sent off for cleaning. This roughly translates to over thirty men consuming food from the same plate. With such revelations, it becomes clear how everyone managed to get infected with the Coronavirus (read Chinese virus).
Muslims perform a purification practice before offering namaz, called wudu. The Markaz had a small water pool like area, where all the inmates would take water from to perform the ritual. They would wash their faces, mouth, feet and arms from the same pool. This leaves no doubt in our minds, and it becomes amply clear why a large majority of those who attended the congregation are turning up positive.
In the third criteria, that is immunity, a section of radical Muslims fares badly due to their religious conservatism and opposition to vaccination, modern allopathic medicines, and excessive focus on meat in the diet.
The Conservative sections of the Muslim community have always opposed vaccination on religious grounds or conspiracy theories. Many clerics have issued a fatwa against immunization and argued this as West’s conspiracy to sterilize Muslims. They have also said that this is against the teachings of the Quran.
“When people are unprotected through vaccines, diseases like measles, cholera, meningitis, yellow fever and polio can cause devastating epidemics,” said Katherine O’Brien, Director of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals at WHO. “This would not only be catastrophic for those who become ill, but also for health systems—especially those already battling COVID-19. The worst impacts will be felt in the poorest countries, where children are most at risk from these diseases.”
The careless attitude and unhygienic practices of conservative Muslims have made them the largest spreader of Coronavirus leading to such a high infection rate by them.