Signs of Intelligent Life in Islam: Hussein Halawa

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Many Muslim clerics and leaders have been coming up with outlandish theories about the origin of the coronavirus. Some say it was sent by Allah to punish China for its mistreatment of the Muslim Uighurs (the imam who first said it came down with the coronavirus two days after making this claim). Others have said it was fabricated by the Americans in order to “destroy” China because that country was surpassing America as an economic power. The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, claimed that the Americans, working with “demons,” have come up with a virus that strikes only Iranians (which leaves one wondering why they came up with a second kind of virus that struck Infidels in China, Italy, and the U.S.). Others say the coronavirus was fabricated by American pharmaceutical companies so that they could then sell a vaccine they had already developed to a panicky world. Still others said the virus was fabricated by the Israelis to target only Muslims. Others said that the Israelis did indeed fabricate the virus, but in order to destroy the entire population of the world (exactly why they would do this was entirely unclear). And so on, and so idiotically forth. If you spend time at MEMRI.org, you will find these and other equally demented claims made by Muslim clerics, political figures, journalists, academics.

So it a relief to find that at least one prominent Muslim cleric is not, on the subject of the coronavirus, certifiably insane. For he was having none of it; he ridiculed all of these absurd conspiracy theories. This figure of sanity is Sheikh Hussein Halawa, the Secretary-General of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, who firmly rejects the idea that the coronavirus is the product of an American or Israeli or, indeed, of any kind of conspiracy.

He can be seen at MEMRI.com here expressing his views on an Islamic television show broadcast in the U.K.

Sheikh Hussein Halawa, the Secretary-General of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, said in a March 15, 2020 show on Hiwar TV (U.K.) that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are clearly visible, and he criticized anybody who expects him to believe that it is some sort of global conspiracy. He pointed out that COVID-19 infects Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and that he will not let people draw him “from truth to fantasy.” He said: “Do you expect me to just leave the sick people to die?”

Sheikh Hussein Halawa: “There are sick people – I have seen this with my own eyes. People have died – I have seen this with my own eyes. There is a pandemic that infects people, and I can see its effects with my own eyes. So, whoever wants me to lie about what I see, and ignore the [eyesight] and logic Allah blessed me with, and consider a so-called conspiracy… Do you expect me to just leave the sick people to die? Do you expect me to just let them die and let the pandemic spread? Am I supposed to think that this is a global conspiracy, the purpose of which was to… To achieve what exactly?

[…]

When [the coronavirus] appeared in China, they said it was a punishment from Allah, because the Chinese treated our people, the Uyghur Muslims, in an inhumane and uncivilized manner, and violated their human rights. But this pandemic is spreading all over the world. It does not spare Muslims or non-Muslims. Now we have seen with our own eyes how this pandemic has left China and is moving to other countries. It infects Uyghur Muslims just like it infects others. It does not spare Saudi Arabia just like it does not spare America or Russia. Allah has blessed me with senses and I must use them. I cannot let people drag me from truth to fantasy.”

Note that Halawa, as a good Muslim,takes care to attribute his views to what Allah has given him, for “Allah has blessed me with senses and I must use them.”

Hussein Halawa’s voice of reason gives one some hope that perhaps the Muslim world is not populated largely by the demented – an impression which is hard to avoid when one spends hours reading the offerings at MEMRI.org. He’s seen the infected and the dead, he knows that the coronavirus infects Muslims and non-Muslims alike, he knows that both the Chinese and the Uighur Muslims they mistreat have been infected, that the Infidels of America and Russia have been hit with the coronavirus while, at the same time, so has the cradle of Islam, Saudi Arabia. In Hussein Halawa’s view, those who come up with or believe these demented conspiracy theories are preventing the right application of reason to the worldwide pandemic; anything that diverts attention from the findings of science is likely to prove to be an obstruction to proper treatment of the infected, and to finding a vaccine for the uninfected. If you think Allah has sent the disease, there is no point in trying to fight it; Allah’s will cannot be, and should not be, opposed. Those clerics who have suggested that Allah sent the disease to punish Muslims who were not observant enough — “not good enough Muslims” — are unlikely to want this divine punishment to be rendered innocuous. For such Believers, those who get it deserve it.

Hussein Halawa know the coronavirus strikes the good as well as the wicked, the Believer and the Infidel, those who are dutiful Muslims and those who are unobservant; the disease plays no favorites. Christian Italy has been struck hard, and so has Muslim Iran. He does not blame the two favorite villains in the Islamic world’s conspiracy theories – America and Israel. In short, Hussein Halawa is completely clear-sighted about the coronavirus’ appearance and spread. He has kept his wits about him. He believes his “lying eyes.” And that, my fellow Infidels, given the environment in which he was raised and in which he still lives, as Secretary-General of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, is a remarkable achievement.

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