March 26, 2021 5:49:48 am
NEARLY 50 mosques in Godhra in Panchmahals district will put out a message on the public announcement systems after prayers on Fridays, encouraging members of the Muslim community to register and go for Covid-19 vaccination. Godhra has seen the lowest vaccination figures in the district so far — owing to the reluctance of the Muslim community that makes a majority of the population here.
Despite the administration setting up a vaccination centre at the Covid Care Centre run by the Al Hayat trust of the community, but rumours about the ‘harmful content’ of the vaccine have meant that the beneficiaries have refused to turn up.
On Friday, following the namaz in 50 mosques, the clerics presiding over the sermons will read out a message explaining the need for the Covid19 vaccine and also allay fears of the community about the vaccination being “against Shariah” and harmful. Maulana Iqbal Bokda of Jamiat e Ulema e Hind, Godhra, told this newspaper, “We are meeting this evening to prepare the message that will be read in all the mosques. The district administration has approached us to intervene and communicate with the members of the community that the vaccine is safe and necessary. The message will also say the same things.
We will explain to our brotherhood that the vaccination is not against the Shariah law, as many think. There is also a general mistrust about the vaccination being harmful because of the messages that are going viral on social media. Many people fall for it. The basic misunderstanding is from the fact that no one has tried to make them understand about it.” Bokda said that the message will be read out in the Urdu language in at least 50 of the 75 mosques in the taluka at a time when the gathering is the largest so that the message reaches more people.
Dr Zuber Mamji, a member of the trust that runs the Covid19 centre in Godhra said that the clerics of the community held a meeting with the Muslim doctors in order to ascertain the credentials of the vaccination before agreeing to make the announcements. Mamji said, “We have explained to the clerics from the point of view of medical science, the importance of taking the two doses of the Covid vaccination. There has been a deep misunderstanding following viral messages that the vaccine contains strains of pigs cells and is un-Islamic. The same misconception has been cleared now and the clerics will make the announcements to explain the benefits of the doses. We are very hopeful that it will bring the numbers to the centre, which was started on Saturday but has not seen people turning up to take the shots.”
Mamji added that the district administration has been closely working in the area to communicate with the community but hitting a roadblock.District Collector Amit Arora, who had approached community leaders in a meeting on Monday to intervene and convince the people to register for vaccination, told this newspaper, “The people tend to believe viral messages as the overall insecurity surrounding government vaccination drives has been a factor. We have roped in the Muslim clerics and doctors from the community, who are locally trusted by the people in times of their illness, to convey the message. We are hopeful that this will help increase the numbers in Godhra, which has been the weakest in the vaccination drive in the district.”
Facing a similar issue, Anand District Collector RG Gohil also chaired a meeting with Muslim community leaders and urged them to make announcements after Friday namaz. Gohil told this newspaper, “The clerics have joined in the campaign. Many of them have also taken the vaccination in order to lead by example and instil confidence among the community members. They will send out a message after the Friday namaz in the district to encourage the Muslim population to see the vaccine as a necessity and not a threat.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.