An intensive care doctor has revealed his personal loss in an appeal to the Muslim community to save lives by taking the Covid-19 vaccines. Dr Wasim Mir spoke as part of a plea by Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre in Birmingham, which warned that the number of funerals it is managing has been increasing on a similar trajectory to the first wave. The mosque said preserving life is one of the core objectives of Islam, which also forbids the spreading of misinformation and conspiracy theories. Dr Mir spoke after imams across the UK delivered sermons aimed at debunking false myths about the safety of the vaccines.
At Friday prayers last week, worshippers across the UK were told that the immunisations are halal, or permissible in Islam, and were urged to ignore misinformation and conspiracy theories. Dr Mir, who practises in Birmingham, said: ‘This disease doesn’t discriminate by race, age or gender. ‘Many of my close family have passed away as well as my friends. Covid 19 is a real disease and it kills real people. It is therefore important that we come forward and fight this disease so we can save the lives of all of us as a life of a Muslim is very sacred in our deen [way of life]. ‘We must trust our health professionals, our health regulators and scholars. Therefore I encourage you to take the vaccine.’
Dr Mir spoke as the award-winning mosque, in Small Heath, and the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) urged Muslims to follow official guidance and ignore misinformation. In advice accompanying the NHS doctor’s video message, the masjid said: ‘The preservation of life is one of the core objectives of Islamic law (maqasid ash shariah) and Islam.’ Worshippers were reminded that ‘we have an obligation to take every step possible to ensure that lives are saved, and the public is safe’. Addressing misinformation, the management said: ‘Spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories is not allowed in Islam.’
The congregation was told: ‘As a Masjid, we hold a position of responsibility when it comes to providing our community with sound Islamic guidance. ‘We have witnessed the brutality of this virus in the number of Covid-19 funerals we managed over the first lockdown last year, and now worry as we witness the number of funerals begin to increase once again.
‘We remain in close contact with key medical professionals, public health officials and other mosques on a weekly basis to monitor the situation and provide guidance to our community.’
In December, the BIMA dispelled falsehoods including that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine contains non-halal animal products.
The not-for-profit organisation, of which Dr Mir is a member, has cited evidence showing that Covid had a disproportionate impact on the Muslim community in the first wave and is continuing to take a greater toll on ethnic minority communities.
It has also found that Muslims in the UK tend to be ‘vaccine hesitant’.
The BIMA’s own myth-busting campaign provides reassurance that the vaccines are safe -having been independently regulated and reviewed by the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency – and have been developed in consultation with Islamic medical experts.
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