Since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in Iran, many Iranians have criticised how religious authorities have handled the crisis. Some blame the country’s ayatollahs – high-ranking Islamic clerics – for not only blocking necessary health measures, but also promoting traditional Islamic medicine, which has already cost lives.
Qom, one of the holiest cities for Shiite Muslims, is believed to have had the first cluster of coronavirus cases in Iran. The first official coronavirus cases were announced in the city on February 19. Although public officials and medical experts called for the city to be put under quarantine, it never happened. Hardline religious leaders refused to enact safety measures like imposing a lockdown.
ضدعفونی فقط سمت چپ خودرو چه فایدهای میتونه داشته باشه؟
“What’s the point of disinfecting only one side of the cars?” This video was commented on by many people in Iran. Two clerics apparently are disinfecting cars in the streets of Gorgan in northwest Iran. They are not wearing any protective gear, and they are only disinfecting one side of the cars.
‘Prophet’s perfume’ to cure coronavirus patients
The interference of extremist religious clerics in Iran’s coronavirus crisis does not stop there. Some clerics have pushed for the use of traditional Islamic medicine in the treatment of patients with Covid-19.
On March 21, a cleric and staunch advocate of ‘Islamic medicine’, Morteza Kohansal, visited the coronavirus section of a hospital in Anzali in Gilan province, in northern Iran. He is a follower of Ayatollah Tabrizian, the so-called ‘father’ of Islamic medicine in Iran.
Kohansal holds an unknown “medicine” near the patients’ noses and tells them: ” Smell it. Smell it. You’re going to be fine.”
During his visit to the hospital, Kohansal applied an “Islamic remedy” to some coronavirus patients. He held an unknown liquid that he called “Prophet’s perfume” under the noses of patients. He also published photos and videos of himself standing next to the patients and with doctors and nurses wearing protective equipment. He wasn’t wearing any protective equipment himself. The OBSERVERS read more