Absar Husain Kazmi
Despite the fact that the Covid-19 virus does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, or religion, some people are still using it to target and malign certain minorities, especially Muslims. Yet, despite the negativity, Muslims across the world are playing a major role in the fight against the pandemic.
Over the last few months hashtags such as #CoronaJihad and #CoronaTerrorism have been trending on social media. Many Westerners may not have come across these hashtags, but in India and some other Eastern countries, social media posts carrying them have recently been going viral. Some Indian politicians were also quoted referring to Muslims as ‘Corona’ or “Human Bombs.”
In fact, since the outbreak of the deadly Covid-19 virus in 2019, Muslims in many countries have reported facing discrimination. A few female Muslim doctors in the U.S. have reported that patients refused to let them examine them when they saw their hijab.
What this suggests is that even during such a great pandemic, a time when humanity should be coming together, racism and bigotry still overshadow rationality. Some politicians use this as an opportunity to score political points with their base and further their Islamophobic agendas.
However, despite all the negativity and hatred, many of the doctors in the West happen to be Muslims who are putting their lives on the line to save patients.
The Efforts of Muslim Doctors
In the United Kingdom
According to a recent report by Al Jazeera, the first four doctors in the United Kingdom to succumb to Corona Virus were all Muslim. They were Adil El Tayar, Alfa Sa’adu, Habib Zaidi, and Amged el-Hawrani. The general secretary of the British Islamic Medical Association said:
“They were devoted family men, committed senior doctors, and dedicated decades of service to their communities and patients… They gave the ultimate sacrifice while fighting this disease.”
Similarly, in Italy, it was reported that the 100th doctor to die of Covid-19 was Samar Sinjab, a 62-year-old Muslim of Syrian origin who contracted the virus from one of her patients. According to the report, she worked until her very last days. The report also highlights several other Muslim doctors who gave their life in trying to save their patients from the coronavirus.
In the United States
It is a well-known fact that the U.S. hosts a very large population of doctors belonging to the Muslim faith.
A recent, positive report from the United States, tells of a Muslim-American doctor who used his knowledge and expertise to innovate a new method for treating patients of Covid-19. Dr. Saud Anwar of Connecticut has found a way to use a single ventilator to treat up to 7 patients at a time!
Using the new method, air from the ventilator would be evenly distributed via a plastic fitting with enough pressure to allow up to 7 patients to breathe. Dr. Anwar had the following to say about the new invention: “This is only in a situation of a disaster this is not standard of care… so it is preparation for a desperate response for a desperate situation where if we don’t have enough ventilators and there are hundreds of people who are in need of them you try to save as many people as you can.”
Everyday Muslims Fighting Covid-19
It is not just Muslim doctors who are leading the fight against the Corona virus. Everyday Muslims are doing their part to help their neighbors and community members during this time of difficulty.
One of the most heartwarming examples of this selflessness is the couple Jawad and Asiyah Javed, who own a corner shop in Scotland and have taken it upon themselves to provide free face masks and sanitizers to the elderly. For those seniors who are unable to visit the shop themselves, the Muslim couple deliver the essential items to them free of cost. As of the date of the report, their generosity had so far cost them approximately 2,000 Pounds.
“On Saturday I was out, and I met an old woman, she was crying because she had been to the supermarket and there was no hand wash,” Mrs. Jawad explained. “I feel it is not fair on elderly people, some can’t get out the house. We are delivering 30 packages to a care home where there are 30 people living, and we’ve got another couple of hundred in the shop.”
Islam on Saving Lives
Islam, like all other major religions, emphasizes the importance of human life. Many Muslim doctors enter the medical field in hopes of serving those who are ill. The Qur’an explains that anyone who saves one life, it is as though he has saved all humankind (Quran, 5:32).
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