Hussein Hobballah, Montreal
As soon as fear had masked the globe because of the killer Coronavirus, many community institutions began to seriously deal with this danger, which is claiming lives all over the world every day. One might immediately contact the virus through droplets dripping out of a mouth or nose, or unimmediately when one touches surfaces on which such droplets have been dripped then touches his/ her eye, nose, or mouth. This is probable especially when people stand at close proximity, handshake, touch others or sneeze.
So these community institutions have immediately responded to the concerned officials’ calls, especially Prime Minister Justine Trudeau’s and the Canadian premiers’, suspending the institutions’ activities so as to help protect the health and life of community members. People have been making less visits and reducing direct communication in fear of contacting the contagious virus, be that via carrier humans aware or unaware of it.
In the meantime, some institutions and families have, strangely and unjustifiably, not responded, exposing many to the infectious disease.
At the beginning, it had been officially demanded not to host more than 250 people during any ceremony, so most community institutions responded. Later, many religious institutions like mosques and churches declared they would cancel all their prayers or Mass.
Scout leaders and the senior staff of Saturday’s Arabic schools, gyms and social clubs had done the same, even before the government made its final recommendations on complete closure. Many other ceremonies organized by religious and other active associations, as well as by private educational institutions as daily Islamic schools, have been suspended.
To make up for the closure, the officials of mosques, churches, Arabic schools, gyms and social clubs have provided lectures, sermons, lessons, tutorials, and competitions broadcast live or via Facebook. And that has been very much welcomed by the stay-at-home audience as a modern way of communication, which has also reached out to others who’ve missed many community activities or who’ve been completely isolated from the community’s activities for reasons we might need to discuss better in further publications.
Also acting responsibly are many enterprises, which have seen an unprecedented flood of customers; however, the owners and employees have been very keen on providing the customers’ unusual needs amidst people’s growing fears of food shortage.
At the same time, they’ve taken all necessary measures to prevent the disease outbreak among the customers, whether by instructing employees on preventive actions, dealing with customers (receiving a limited number of customers at a time, making use of phone deliveries, providing antiseptics at shops, and demanding that employees, customers and traders use them as soon as they come in or leave in order to restrict any potential dangers in public places).
Many families have as well stopped visiting and have been depending on social media since to keep in touch.
All of these examples demonstrate big and real awareness as to our and others’ life and health; so far none of our community members has been found infected by this dangerous pandemic that we wish wouldn’t harm anybody anymore.
Despite this quite positive course of action taken by the Muslims and Christians of our community that has responded well enough to the Quebec Council of Imams and other religious authorities in Canada and abroad, some media are still trying to highlight the fact that two mosques hadn’t declared full closure on their Facebook pages. It has been meant to defame the mosques and depict their officials as indifferent. In contrast, the followers of other faiths have been described as more caring than some Muslims.
A mosque official says their doors have been open to the needy; a man inside has been seen wearing gloves as part of the measures taken by the members present there to meet necessary demands.
Yes, it isn’t easy to close worship places and mosques when believers want to pray or ask for something. But, in fact, we see that even pilgrims can no more visit the Holy Kaaba, so why shouldn’t a mosque (if still open to believers) suspend all of its activities until things get better? And why don’t the officials communicate with the needy on the phone and provide their needs by safe means?
We call on our community to take this even more seriously; it is no longer a joke. But it is a danger that won’t miss any indifferent people or whomever is close to them. All are responsible for doing their best to limit the dangers.
We pray to God that all stick to whatever is necessary to limit the outbreak of this pandemic, that we support each other and the needy by any means in these hard times. We also pray to God to save us and the entire humanity from this gloom and to make us support doctors and researchers so that they eventually find an effective treatment that heals the infected as soon as possible. We pray to Him to bring us all a safe life and to reveal the truth beyond this pandemic and its real source.
Please stay at home. Don’t leave unless you’ve got urgent work to do or you badly need to buy stuff. There is no way for indifference, but for bearing responsibility and cooperating until divine wisdom brings us change.