The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Gujarat on Monday resolved to conduct camps across the state to encourage community members to take Covid-19 vaccination.
In a meeting of the Jamiat’s working committee in Vadodarahma on Monday, 60 clerics from across the state, including Bhavnagar and Palanpur, decided to actively participate in the drive to promote vaccination among the community, which has been hesitant due to “mistrust”.
The community members have not taken vaccine despite repeated attempts by the respective administrations. In Godhra and Anand, the administration made public announcements at mosques to encourage vaccinations in March and April but to no avail. Even in cities such as Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat, less than one per cent of members of the community have taken the jab so far, community leaders said.
Mufti Imran Dheriwala of Panigate in Vadodara, who held the meeting, told The Indian Express that the community has an ingrained mindset that the matter of “life and death” is not in human hands.
“The community has a deep sense of mistrust towards the government as far as vaccines are concerned. But it is also because of the faith of the people that it is Allah (Almighty) that decides one’s time of death… the Almighty protects even if one does not take a vaccine. We are trying to break this misconception. The teachings of Islam, in fact, make it mandatory for a person to do all that is in his or her capacity to protect his life and by that virtue, vaccinations are important. We are trying to spread this message,” he said.
Mufti Imran added that the resolution passed by the Ulama on Monday states that the need of the hour is to prepare the community for an imminent third wave of the virus. “We have decided to conduct camps to get the community to take the vaccines. We are preparing a list of the areas where we will conduct a camp with help of local doctors. The camp will be led by a cleric,” he said, adding that most clerics are yet to be vaccinated too.
The community will also educate the members about the importance of vaccines during Friday prayer at the mosques across the state. “We will tell them why it is necessary to protect themselves from a virus… We will also remind them that in many areas of business, the government has made vaccination mandatory,” he said.
The Baroda Muslim Doctors Association (BMDA) has held two vaccination camps in Vadodara since last week. Socio-political activist Zuber Goplani, said, “We had 600 registered persons but we received only 300 doses of vaccine. Opening up vaccination centres run by Muslim organisations has helped bring in some of the people. It will increase as the clerics get involved in creating awareness.”
The Surat Municipal Corporation has also decided to set up vaccination centres at Muslim community-run hospitals and mosques in the city. Talking to The Indian Express, municipal commissioner BN Pani said, “To create awareness, we have circulated videos of Islamic clerics and Muslim doctors who have taken the vaccination in Surat. We are coordinating with the trustees of mosques and dargahs to open up vaccination centres in Muslim-dominated areas.”
(With inputs from Kamaal Saiyed in Surat)