Tablighi Jamaat — the Superspreader of COVID-19

The followers of Tablighi Jamaat. Image Credit: Business Standard

Only a month ago Delhi was rocked by unprecedented rioting and arson triggered by the anti-CAA Islamist protests. They blocked roads, pelted stones, damaged public and private properties and killed police personnel.

Now, while the country is passing through a dreadful pandemic, an ultra-conservative Islamic organization called Tablighi Jamaat, organized a religious gathering that too by involving foreign nationals. The gathering, which emerged as the super-spreader of coronavirus, came as a huge setback to the country’s efforts to combat the disease.

This development might have come as a surprise to many. But people, who have closely been following the social and mainstream media, could foresee the impending danger from Islamists well before the news about Tablighi Jamaat’s hotspot came to light.

In an article titled “NHS officials told me Muslim households are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus — it’s important to understand why”, published in the British news portal, Independent, the author Shadim Hussain elaborated why Muslims are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus infection.

There were numerous TikTok videos that have been circulating, which debunked the threat of coronavirus and asked all the Muslims to continue to congregate and practice their ‘Sunnat’. Surprisingly, neither the TikTok nor the government took any action against the creeps who circulated those videos. Many videos went to the extent of threatening the people stating that the coronavirus outbreak is a kind of NRC (National Register of Citizens) and Allah will decide who will live and who will die. In one of the videos, a man is seen defiling some currency notes by wiping spit and mucous with them and threatening people to infect with the virus. The vicious propaganda continued unhinderedly and finally, the worst fears of many people came true.

In addition to the above, many videos depicting rabid Maulvis screaming their lungs out encouraging Muslims to congregate in large numbers, were also circulated with impunity. In one of the videos, a Maulana is seen warning the media not to cover the Tablighi-related news or else face the consequences.

Even in Pakistan, the Tablighi Jamaat leaders were involved in spreading the coronavirus far and wide. Anybody who visited the Dawn news portal could get to know how the people affiliated to TJ continue to spread the virus throughout Pakistan. The same Jamaat people are spreading the virus in many other Asian countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. Although the news about Jamaat people acting as superspreaders is available in the public domain, the police and intelligence agencies in India were caught napping.

Tablighi Jamaat Markaz Masjid, where the religious meeting took place, is the headquarters of the TJ. The ultra-conservative Islamic organization is involved in proselytization and encourages its followers to emulate the medieval Islamic lifestyle. And these religious gatherings are even attended by many followers from foreign countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Bangladesh.

In a leaked audiotape, Nizamuddin Markaz chief Maulana Saad was heard telling his followers, “This is not the time when you leave your prayers, meeting people just because doctors are saying. When Allah has given this disease, then no doctor or medicine can save us”. It is very clear that his teachings are not only patently regressive but also endanger the lives of the people.

After the incident came to light, the Tablighi bigots even refused to get tested for coronavirus. Finally, the National Security Advisor (NSA), Ajit Doval, had to intervene to persuade the TJ leaders to agree for medical tests. And the followers of the TJ, after the religious gathering was over, traveled to various parts of India and spread it among the local communities. As the Nizamuddin Markaz event emerged as the epicenter of coronavirus in India, the state governments panicked and started searching for the people who attended the religious gathering. And the followers of TJ, instead of cooperating with the law enforcement agencies, kept their travel a secret and refused to obey the government’s directives.

When they were finally tracked down and shifted to quarantine centers, the news about their gross misbehavior started hitting headlines. As per newspaper reports, the followers of TJ spat at the on-duty doctors, moved around in hospitals half-naked, made lewd gestures at nurses and played obscene music. They offered prayers in hospitals and quarantine centers en masse. They even refused to eat the healthy food prescribed by doctors and demanded spicy beef biryani. Even the doctors who went to screen suspected cases as part of contact tracing exercise, which is crucial for combating community transmission, were attacked by Muslim mobs. All these incidents evoked a lot of revulsion against the followers of Tablighi Jamaat.

And the left-liberals and closet jihadis, instead of realizing the enormity of the problem created by the Tablighi Jamaat bigots, started branding all the criticism against TJ as Islamophobia and started searching for ways to defend the indefensible actions of the bigots.

The latest reports say that over 1,000 Tablighi Jamaat members infected, accounting for 30% of all India coronavirus cases. All these infections not only pave the way for community spread but also impose an unacceptable economic burden on the already battered Indian economy.

Many orthodox Muslims still believe that if they pray five times a day, they become fully immune from viruses. And they even feel that they can practice their ‘Sunnat’ even while a dreadful pandemic is sweeping through the world. Islamic clergymen, instead of bringing about awareness among their followers, are accentuating the problem by peddling dangerous superstitions.

Combating the coronavirus is already proving to be a task that needs herculean efforts. If the Jamaat people continue to spread the virus, they will not only make the war against coronavirus far more difficult but also end up causing unacceptable damage to the economy on which all our livelihoods depend.

Originally published at on April 5, 2020.

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