Thursday, April 8, 2021

Covid-19: World in Panic

The Precarious State of the World 

Everyone is in awe (fear) with the 2nd and 3rd waves of the pandemic which are wreaking havoc across the whole world. People are confined to the house, and those who do not respect the confinement, there are tickets for non-compliance with the confinement, and laws have been passed. [And here in Mauritius, some people are ignoring the warnings of the police and continue to circulate without following health advice and protocols]. The law states that anyone accused of non-compliance with confinement or non-wearing of a mask will have their conviction for this offense displayed on their character certificate. 

Here in Mauritius, there is a scare that governs in the neighbouring regions! The villages will switch slowly into the red zone same as the towns [such as the village of Canot]. The number of cases continues to increase, and the containment which was to be removed on March 31, has been extended until April 30, 2021. The authorities have sealed the perimeters of the most infected places, that is to say, the red zones. No one has the right to enter or leave it except those who are in possession of special “Work Access Permits” [WAPs] for red zones, as well as children who have exams, and the parents who accompany them. And until this ban is lifted, everyone must abide by these limits so that the virus does not spread. Contact tracing continues, and as I told you, the country (Mauritius) has hundreds and hundreds of positive [local] cases. 

For me personally, I fear for all mankind that the Astra Zeneca vaccine would cause long term side effects. 

In several countries, the Astra Zeneca vaccination had to be suspended, as around 40 [and even more] people who received the Astra Zeneca injection developed blood clots. Covaxin is also yet to be approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), but some governments are ignoring this important [WHO] decision and endangering public health. People are becoming vaccine guinea pigs for the Covid-19 coronavirus and its variants against their will. To make the vaccine, there is the consent form which [the authorities] must simplify and make clear to all people, and the government must take its responsibilities and take charge of any adverse effects that may arise [that would result] from it [that is, as a result of the injection of these vaccines]. 

The consent form created psychosis [a state of panic and confusion] in the population; dubious and dangerous clauses for the future of all those taking the vaccine must be reviewed. You [i.e. the Government officials] have to tell them that the risk of complications exists, and if there is anything, you will be there to take charge of the situation. You will ensure that these people are taken care of in the best way. The people are not fooled. At no time should you take people as puppets or that you think people will obey you, especially when public injustice and insecurity are at their peak. 

That said, the authorities are targeting a rate of 60% of people vaccinated against Covid-19 to achieve collective immunity. [But are people really going to become “immune” to this virus through these vaccines? The people and this humble servant of God think otherwise]. To this day there are still people who refuse to be vaccinated for their own reasons. What place will they occupy in society? Will they be able to travel? Will they be allowed in public places? The authorities hope to reach a rate of 60% in order to obtain the coveted collective immunity, [because they say it is the] precious magic formula on which the reopening of the borders depends.

While some people flock to the available vaccination centres, this is not the case for everyone. Whether it is out of fear, lack of information, ignorance, uncertainty or their own reasons, there are people who refuse. A person should be free to choose whether or not to be vaccinated. It’s his personal choice. No one can force him to do it because these vaccines are not thoroughly tested, and no one knows whether they are really good for humans or not. They are still at the test level, and man is becoming a guinea pig [people are becoming guinea pigs], especially the “front-liners”. 

But several legitimate questions remain. What will be the life of the unvaccinated people in society when operations resume? What place will they occupy? In the upper echelons of government, among those who make the decisions, things are clear. Although nothing official has been communicated on this subject, it is already indicated that the refusal or inability of an individual to be vaccinated will impact their ability to travel. So, we don’t know if they will really be able to travel or not. 

Many countries will prohibit access to unvaccinated passengers. This will be one of the criteria taken into account when applying for a visa. As for those who are not eligible for vaccination, they will be issued with an exemption document. In fact, the government is working on this type of document for those people who, for medical reasons, are not allowed to be vaccinated. It is understood that the certification and the format will be established in the near future. However, it will be up to other countries to accept the document or not, as they may allow certain types of stays and prohibit others. The controversy swelled after cases of thrombosis were recorded in some European countries, including Italy. Some countries have also stopped vaccination with Astra Zeneca. 

On the Ministry of Health’s side, it is understood that under the “Quarantine Act 2020”, a person cannot refuse to be placed in quarantine on pain of being fined up to Rs.500, 000/= and having a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years. The law makes no provision for a person suspected of being infected with Covid-19 to remain in isolation in their home if they refuse quarantine. It is clearly stipulated that he must be placed in a quarantine centre provided for this purpose. The person must comply with the regulations of the law. Failure to do so is to run the risk of being prosecuted, fined and imprisoned. 

All aspects of a person’s life must be taken into consideration. Regarding public safety, the law is very vague and does not take into account what can happen if a person is suddenly placed in quarantine. With the burglaries that took place in the absence of the owners, families will not be able to seek justice. 

It will be really difficult to determine who will take responsibility for these crimes that are happening in the homes of those who had to leave everything urgently and under government order for quarantine. In the current situation it is like the family went on a trip abroad and their house was broken into in their absence. Who will take the responsibility/ blame for it? There is no way to prosecute the state or the police. If it is done by force, if they have had to leave their homes against their will, there may be a valid and prosecutable reason [for suing the state]. Victims must have the right to seek compensation and justice from the law. 

When a suspected infected person is placed in quarantine, the entire neighbourhood is informed within hours. Thieves take advantage of the situation. They break into homes, open cupboards, furniture, safes, search drawers, and take jewellery and other valuables. 

But in this time of confinement, they get their hands on anything they find in their path. They steal everything: [not only] valuables, [but also] food, among others. Article 308 of the penal code, which addresses cases of theft in extreme conditions such as civil wars, riots, floods, among others, stipulates that the state must imperatively secure the property of individuals who are victims. Any burglary committed in the homes of these people is perceived as a highly punishable offense by law but unfortunately this is not the case for the offenses of burglary which are committed in the homes of individuals placed in quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

What is sad there is a Minister of Justice in Mauritius who claims to be the best lawyer and who has studied in the biggest law school. What arrogance, Mister the Minister! And you have the audacity to call the Mauritian people satans, why? Is it that we - the people of Mauritius - are saying that we have to wait for the World Health Organization to validate the Indian vaccine, Covaxin, before it is given to the people? The government of Mauritius wants the Mauritians to use this vaccine which is at the level of phase 3, and has not received the green light from the WHO [because all these vaccines are still at the test level, and have not yet had definitive and reassuring results]. And let’s not forget that even the government of Mauritius and the manufacturers of these vaccines themselves do not know how effective these vaccines are. The Mauritian people are becoming guinea pigs so that the authorities can judge the intensity and effectiveness of these vaccines. This is evident in the specific clauses of the consent form where the government denies any responsibility if there is a life-threatening complication from the injection of this vaccine. 

Now let’s see what these vaccines are made of. In a BBC article, it is explained that Covaxin has been designed with dead coronaviruses, and that it is injected into people’s bodies so that their immune systems can recognize the danger and begin to produce antibodies to protect their bodies. 

As for the Covishield [Astra Zeneca], it has been created with the flu virus common to chimpanzees. And this virus has been altered in the lab so that it can resemble coronaviruses and so that the human immune system can perceive it as a threat and begins to produce antibodies to defend the health of people. 

So, you see, man takes coronaviruses that they think are dead and injects them into people’s bodies, not really knowing whether it will cure them [or prevent disease] or not. They don’t even know if the virus can reactivate in a man’s body and wreak havoc on his health and direct him to his death. So it is very sad that stubborn governments put the lives of millions and millions of people in danger. They use people as guinea pigs against their will to find out whether these viruses are working or not. And most recently in the United States, we learned that those who received their two doses of the anti-Covid-19 vaccines contracted the virus almost two weeks after taking the vaccines. 

So, like I told you, these vaccines are not at all reliable. Many lives are in danger because of the irresponsibility of these types of officers who are at the head of their countries and whom their people voted, and there are even those who have schemed [made bad plans] to come to power, to pocket millions and to hurt the hearts of millions of people, and to bring them to their death. These leaders pretend to have the best interests of their people at heart, but when these people are forced to make vaccines which research and studies are not completed and approved, then it is like they are saying to their people. : “Go and die!” And this is really sad. For them, the world can suffer complications and die, as long as they - these high-placed leaders - are in their luxury and comfort. They have millions and millions of money so that they can live [well], while it is ordinary people who are suffering. But for how long will they be able to do this [all this evil]? There is an Almighty God Who is watching them. He is Patient and He knows how to do His justice. It is in Him alone that we must place our trust, and it is to Him alone that we must turn. 

Pandemic Lockdown: Impact on Families

Now let’s see how home confinement creates several problems for the confined but also creates circumstances where people learn to live with each other 24 hours a day. I have learned that some of them take advantage of the lockdown [confinement] to have as much fun as possible with their family. On the other hand, as I told you, others face family crises related to these difficult times. It also depends on how the person perceives the confinement. There are students who see confinement as an escape route. As school is closed and the students are on vacation (especially here in Mauritius), there are parents who do not like to be around aggressive children. Likewise, there are women who do not want to be at home with their angry and alcoholic husbands. There are many more cases. With confinement right now [in the times we live in] there are conflicts in couples and families in the home. One of the main reasons is that some husbands tend to think of household chores and childcare as the sole responsibility of women. So that creates tension within the family. Sometimes it ends in physical and verbal abuse. Since we are in confinement, the child hears everything and he in turn reproduces this pattern through violent behaviour towards his parents. Although family conflicts vary from family to family, it is important to seek help when you are faced with difficulties. The goal is to have good mental health and to favour a friendly atmosphere at home. 

In education, we see automatic promotion for some students, and retention of exams for others. Such is the new educational landscape of this third quarter which has turned upside down with the second confinement. Automatic promotion at primary level will lead to failure. Our system is still archaic. From pre-primary to secondary, there is automatic promotion. If a student fails Grade 1, how can he or she pass their [he/ her] Grade 4 exams? It must be recognized that there are students who are in Grade 6 and who cannot read or write. And so that the failure percentage is not high, the authorities are lowering the “passing mark”. This means, even if a child receives a lower score than usual [than what is usually recognized as a “passing mark”], then he will pass his exams. Then the student’s level as well as the “passing mark” drop. 

When the Ministry of Education brags about the success rate, it turns out to be a trick, because children do not have a good foundation. I tell you frankly that it is a fact today that parents work and do not have enough time for their children. Some have stepped down from their responsibilities, thinking that the school must do everything, but it is important that a parent feels concerned about his/ her child’s education. 

On the other hand, we must put an end to the appointment of people to important positions. The floor must be given to teachers and other actors in the education sector when there are decisions to be made. If we continue to focus on automatic promotion, it will be a disaster. In addition, children have a role to play. With free transportation, free education, exams that are paid for by the state, some of them forgot about sacrifice and discipline. On the other hand, we must also realize that not all children have the same ability to learn. Also, it is our duty to help these children find their way. 

Regarding automatic promotion at the secondary level, we should not act on a whim for such an important decision. You know, after the last lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we shouldn’t have come up with a new school calendar. Last year when lockdown ended, we had the opportunity to update everything. There were then five months remaining. We could have completed two terms and taken the exams in November and December; at most till January 2021. This would have made it possible to normalize the school calendar of 2021. Several times I have personally addressed letters on this subject as a citizen of this country despite the fact that I am not in the field of education because I am very concerned with education in Mauritius. But unfortunately the government has turned a deaf ear to this proposal. Now there is a re-containment, a 2nd wave of Covid-19. The School Certificate (SC) and Higher School Certificate (HSC) exams [as well as PSAC exams] are maintained while for the others there is automatic promotion. The children are already on vacation and the start of the school year is scheduled for June. But there are still uncertainties and the vagueness persists. All this mess could have been avoided with good planning, even in these difficult times. 

So, my brothers and sisters, I must stop here for today. There are a lot of wrongs, poorly planned decisions and incompetent people sitting in the chair [of power] and not knowing how to make such an important decision during the Covid-19 pandemic. There is still a lot to be said of other sectors, such as the increase in the price of food: vegetables, medicines, the problems of public transport to go to the hospital; loss of employment, etc. 

So what I can tell you, we are heading towards a major global financial crisis. The capitalist economy is self-destructive as was socialist communism. There is only the Islamic model as an absolute remedy, which can protect us against any economic instability. Insha-Allah. 

O Muslims! You are the vanguards - soldiers and protectors - of this world and those who most deserve to rule it with Taqwa [fear of Allah] and trust in Allah [Almighty God] and His help. I end with these verses from the Holy Quran, and Insha-Allah, if Allah (swt) gives me the Ilm (knowledge), I will come with a separate sermon or speech with the help of Allah to explain to whole mankind on the Islamic economic system, because it is the Islamic economic system the system authorized by the Creator of the universe Who knows what is beneficial for His creation. 

Allah says in the following verses of the Holy Quran: “Does He not know what He has created when He is the Compassionate, the Perfect Knower (of all things)?” (Al-Mulk 67:15) 

“And Allah has full power and control over His affairs, but most people do not know.” (Yusuf 12:22) 

May Allah help Muslims and all mankind to turn to Him alone, and seek His help against all dangers that will come upon this world in these times of Qayamat [Day of Judgement / End of the World]. May Allah have mercy on us and help us so that we can help His Cause in the best way. Insha-Allah, Ameen.

----Friday Sermon of 02 April 2021~19 Shabaan 1442 AH delivered by Imam-Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam Hazrat Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim (aba) of Mauritius.