Where the world is united in fighting the menace of the coronavirus, Gazan Imam Jamil Al-Mutawa used his sermon in Gaza to praise the virus as sent by Allah to kill Westerners and Jews while sparing Palestinians. If the translation is accurate on MEMRI from March 20, 2020, the Imam is enthralled by the virus declares “[Allah] has sent just one soldier, [the coronavirus].”
Al-Mutawa reportedly declared the virus as a victory of Islam against its enemies and suggested that it spared Gazans. However, after this sermon two such cases were reportedly found in Gaza:
[Allah] has sent just one soldier, [the coronavirus]. What would happen had he sent 50 like the coronavirus? He has sent just one soldier and it has hit all 50 [American] states. An hour ago, they said on TV that in California… They said that they expect 58% of California to be infected within two months. They talk about 25 million infected people in just one of the 50 states. Allah be praised. Look how anyone who schemes against the Al-Aqsa Mosque is being shattered to smithereens by the soldiers of Allah.”
Cases were confirmed in Gaza the next day.
I cannot confirm this translation, but, if true, this is not simply a disgusting sermon but a dangerous one. There are cases in Gaza and doctors are worried about a catastrophic outbreak given the living conditions and concentration of the population. Other Islamic leaders have been more responsible, including advising followers not to attend services like this one. The failure to heed such advice however is not limited to the Islamic religion, as we recently discussed.
All of this shows how disease is not simply a public health emergency but an opportunity for some. It is uncanny how such disasters are so easily claimed to fit religious and political agendas. Just as we have market profiteers, these are religious profiteers who claim windfalls from disasters.