Coronavirus shockwave can bring faiths closer together
by Hocine Drouiche *

The epidemic affects all of Abraham's children and questions those who wonder if Islam is the only true religion, because the virus affects Muslims. The extremists are silent and the joint initiatives between the faithful of the three religions are multiplying.

Paris (AsiaNews) - The coronavirus has been able to do in just a few days what religious leaders have failed to achieve in numerous decades. The fear and danger of the virus are stronger than interreligious ideas and debates.

Yesterday, in Jerusalem, the three monotheistic religions prayed together for the salvation of humanity. Within Islam, a discussion has started and the majority of the imams are questioning themselves.

The virus has touched all of humanity and there is no people spared from this deadly plague. The fatwas have changed and Muslims are questioning themselves and have naturally asked the question: if Islam is the only authentic religion, the coronavirus should not target Muslims.

Now rationality is being imposed.

The extremists have been silenced by virus. Their manipulative speeches are no longer convenient. Every day, death visits thousands of people and makes no distinction between humans in their color or religion.

In Arab countries, neighborhoods and cities have never been as clean as they are now. Many people have repented for not sharing love and faith, but only fear of punishment and fear of the Lord.

The imams themselves are trying to use the virus to scare young people who have not yet repented. Instead of cultivating the culture of the love of the Lord in our hearts, we reproduce the same mistakes that have hurt us so much for many centuries.

Suddenly, the virus has become the best imam of Muslim societies! The virus that causes death and loss has become stronger than the Prophet's Quranic verses and hadiths that insisted on cleanliness and hygiene.

For several days Muslims, Christians and Jews prayed together and individually against the virus without any protest from the extremists, all addressing the same God and all with fear of the same danger. How surprising is it? As we discover for the first time that we are truly similar. No one is better than another! For many Muslims, the sermons of some imams need to be reviewed!

The coronavirus crisis has awakened a Muslim reason that has been anesthetized for a long time and many have started to ask essential questions about Islam which has been transmitted to us for several centuries in a violent and sometimes inhuman way. Islam, which has been written during so many wars, places Muslims before a crisis of reason.

In Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, South Sudan, Egypt, Iraq, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and many other Arab, Muslim and Christian countries have left their differences to one side thanks to the fear of the virus.

Since the beginning of the crisis, joint humanitarian initiatives have multiplied in these countries. They agreed to put human life first. Was this not the fundamental aim of all monotheistic religions? The Syrie pour tous foundation, chaired by the Franco-Syrian Mohamed Izzet Khettab, has increased its humanitarian actions to bring together Muslims, Jews and Christians in Paris, Brussels and Damascus to fight the virus by distributing food packages, gels and masks to elderly and vulnerable families . In French neighborhoods and suburbs, several French Christian associations have supplied thousands of Muslim families in need with food and hygiene products. These associations are accustomed to carrying out these humanitarian actions towards needy Muslims in France and elsewhere.

If some Muslim extremists like other non-Muslims wanted to end the world, the coronavirus crisis has been able to ignore their lies.

All of Abraham's children, including Muslims, are affected by the contagious and deadly force of the virus. Most imams have questioned themselves. Fatwas have changed and the debate between imams about coronavirus and its effects is alive and vibrant. Muslims are questioning themselves. Some say it clearly: if Islam is the only true religion, why does the virus touch Muslims? Many thought that the epidemic was a punishment against non-Muslims.

There are many within Islam who have written that sacredness, purification and humanism are not exclusive to Muslims and who no longer think they have a monopoly on truth. This monopoly of truth has been the main cause of Islamist fanaticism for several centuries: thousands of Christians, Jews and even Muslims have been victims of this obscurantist dictatorship in the name of a God who instead whould represent love and forgiveness.

Despite the destruction it has caused, the coronavirus shockwave has been of tangible use within Islam in fostering a greater humanization and human brotherhood in this world.

* Imams of Nîmes - Vice-President of the Conference of Imams of France