A cleric in Pakistan’s Punjab province has warned that a jihad would be launched against polio vaccination teams at a time when the World Health Organisation has expressed concern at the emergence of new cases of the disease across the country.
Maulvi Ibrahim Chisti of Muzaffargarh district declared the anti-polio campaign as “un-Islamic” and announced at the local mosque that jihad (holy war) should be carried out against the polio vaccination team.
He warned that if the vaccination team forced anyone to participate in the campaign, then jihad was “the only option”.
As a result, the polio team returned to Muzaffargarh city without carrying out any immunisation and reported the matter to senior officials.
Tip: 21st Floor
It’s disturbing that the cleric would not only be against polio vaccination but is willing to kill people in order to prevent people from getting them. Behind the backlash is a conspiracy idea that the vaccines are not what they are said to be but a way to make people impotent.
Calling it un-Islamic and poison is disheartening considering that historically, the Muslim world were once in the forefront of many sciences, including medicine during their Golden Age. The turn backwards is sad.