Where the world is united in fighting the menace of the coronavirus, Gazan Imam Jamil Al-Mutawa used his sermon in Gaza to praise the virus as sent by Allah to kill Westerners and Jews while sparing Palestinians. If the translation is accurate on MEMRI from March 20, 2020, the Imam is enthralled by the virus declares “[Allah] has sent just one soldier, [the coronavirus].” In the meantime, Ralph Drollinger, a Christian leader with ties to President Trump, argues in two blog posts that the virus is the wrath of God over our sins. Another preacher is claiming to heal all carriers attending his services because the virus is merely the manifestation of the devil. He added “You’re not spreading God’s word, you’re spreading this virus.”
Al-Mutawa reportedly declared the virus as a victory of Islam against its enemies and suggested that it spared Gazans. However, after this sermon two such cases were reportedly found in Gaza:
“[Allah] has sent just one soldier, [the coronavirus]. What would happen had he sent 50 like the coronavirus? He has sent just one soldier and it has hit all 50 [American] states. An hour ago, they said on TV that in California… They said that they expect 58% of California to be infected within two months. They talk about 25 million infected people in just one of the 50 states. Allah be praised. Look how anyone who schemes against the Al-Aqsa Mosque is being shattered to smithereens by the soldiers of Allah.”
Cases were confirmed in Gaza the next day.
I cannot confirm this translation, but, if true, this is not simply a disgusting sermon but a dangerous one. There are cases in Gaza and doctors are worried about a catastrophic outbreak given the living conditions and concentration of the population. Other Islamic leaders have been more responsible, including advising followers not to attend services like this one. The failure to heed such advice however is not limited to the Islamic religion, as we recently discussed.
For his part, Drollinger references the “religion of environmentalism” and express a “proclivity toward lesbianism and homosexuality” in his discussion of the wrath of God, including his explanation of the virus in a column entitled “Is God Judging America Today?” one of the minister’s posts about coronavirus pandemic, have infiltrated “high positions in our government, our educational system, our media and our entertainment industry” and “are largely responsible for God’s consequential wrath on our nation.”
His language is rather convoluted but the conclusion is clear:
“Some leading evangelicals believe and teach that America is now experiencing God’s judgment.
If that is the case, as a public servant who is sacrificing so much in your attempt to turn our nation around, it would stand to reason – if those Evangelical leaders are correct – that you are wasting your time now. But let me qualify that: I do not believe American [sic] is experiencing the forsaking wrath of God, but yes, American [sic] is experiencing the consequential wrath of God. “
The “consequential wrath of God” seems to be connected not to a wild animal market in Wuhan but our social and political choices in the United States?
He is not alone in such wrathful conclusions. Evangelical pastors like Rick Wiles has told his viewers that the “death angel” was sent to reap mass death for things like “forced abortions” in China and he is now likely coming for us.
All of this shows how disease is not simply a public health emergency but an opportunity for some. It is uncanny how such disasters are so easily claimed to fit religious and political agendas. Just as we have market profiteers, these are religious profiteers who claim windfalls from disasters.