Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina has slammed the World Health Organization (WHO) for not endorsing its COVID-19 herbal cure.
Last month, the Malagasy president officially launched Covid-Organics (CVO), an organic herbal concoction, claiming that it can prevent and cure patients suffering from the novel coronavirus.
“If it were a European country which had discovered this remedy, would there be so many doubts,” he said in an exclusive interview with France 24, Paris-based international television news network and Radio France International.
”The problem is that it comes from Africa. And they cannot accept that a country like Madagascar, which is one of the poorest countries in the world, has discovered this formula to save the world,” he added (1).
But, how does WHO know quackery from real treatments? After all some fundamentalist Hindus in March 2020, were promoting cow urine as prevention against coronavirus infection.
Many news channels covered cow urine drinking party. US News, for example wrote: “A Hindu group hosted a cow urine drinking party on Saturday as they believe it wards off the coronavirus, as many Hindus consider the cow sacred and some drink cow urine believing it has medicinal properties.
Experts have repeatedly asserted that cow urine does not cure illnesses like cancer and there is no evidence that it can prevent coronavirus.
The ‘party,’ hosted by a group called the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (All India Hindu Union) at its headquarters in the country’s capital, was attended by 200 people, and the organizers hoped to host similar events elsewhere in India.
‘We have been drinking cow urine for 21 years, we also take bath in cow dung. We have never felt the need to consume English medicine,’ said Om Prakash, a person who attended the party.
Chakrapani Maharaj, the chief of the All India Hindu Union, posed for photographs as he placed a spoon filled with cow urine near the face of a caricature of the coronavirus.
Leaders from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party have advocated the use of cow urine as medicine and a cure for cancer.
A leader from India’s north eastern state of Assam told state lawmakers earlier this month during an assembly session that cow urine and cow dung can be used to treat the coronavirus.” (2)
The fundamentalist Muslims were quick to promote black seed or Kolonji as a prevention and cure for Covid 19 infection.
Bishop Gerald Glenn, the founder and pastor of New Deliverance Evangelistic Church (NDEC) in Chesterfield, Virginia, died on April 11, 2020, church elder Bryan Nevers said in a video post on the church’s Facebook page.
“During this time of intense grief, we ask that you pray continually for the FIRST FAMILY of NDEC,” a Facebook post from the church read. “While they are mourning the heartbreaking earthly absence of their family patriarch & spiritual father, they also have family members who are struggling to survive this dreaded pandemic.”
Glenn and his wife, Marcietia Glenn, tested positive for the virus, their daughter Mar-Gerie Crawley said in a video shared on Facebook. Crawley said in an update Friday that Gerald Glenn was very sick but had improved slightly after being put on a ventilator.
“I just beg people to understand the severity and the seriousness of this because people are saying it’s not just about us, it’s about everyone around us,” Crawley said.
She told Richmond station WTVR that Glenn had diverticulitis and that it was not uncommon for him to get sick or have a fever. Glenn’s health worsened despite trips to urgent care and the emergency room, she added.
Despite authorities urging people to practice social distancing, Glenn held an in-person service on March 22.
“I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus,” Glenn told his congregation in a sermon that day, according to video of the service shared by WTVR. He vowed to keep preaching “unless I’m in jail or the hospital,” the New York Times reported. He died three weeks later of Covid 19 infection (3).
God may applaud the Pastor’s religious zeal in the Hereafter, but, He certainly did not appreciate the Pastor’s flaunting of the laws of nature.
In the meanwhile, there has been growing disquiet in Israel about the slowness of some ultra-Orthodox communities to adopt official measures to reduce the spread of the virus.
Many ultra-Orthodox live within large families in crowded neighborhoods. Their access to the internet and social media is also limited for religious reasons, meaning news and information from the outside world is comparatively poor.
In some strictly religious communities, gatherings for prayer and celebrations including weddings have continued to take place, despite the nationwide ban.
BBC reported, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish town with one of the highest rates of coronavirus cases in Israel has been placed under effective lockdown.
Residents of Bnei Brak, just outside Tel Aviv, will only be allowed out in exceptional circumstances. Only some key workers will be allowed in.
A senior health official said almost 40% of the town’s 200,000 inhabitants probably had the virus (4).
Happy Science is a Japanese doomsday cult. It claims 11 million members worldwide in more than 50 countries, operates a publishing company and several film/animation studios, funds a political wing that fields candidates in Japan, runs a system of unaccredited “universities” and holds events and enlightening seminars.
Formerly known as The Institute for Research in Human Happiness, Happy Science is one of a large number of new religions which have sprouted up in post-war Japan, generally regarded derisively and suspiciously by most Japanese, particularly after a 1995 terrorist attack perpetrated by a different cult in Tokyo’s subway. The group’s English-language reading materials seem benign enough, but the group’s far-right political agenda is expressed much more openly and unambiguously in their Japanese-language media, which espouses extreme Japanese nationalism, social conservatism and xenophobia (5).
According to Happy Science, the virus was created as a bioweapon by the Chinese government in Wuhan, and then, in a twist, it was unleashed by a U.F.O. to punish the communists for their godless ways. It has spread to other lands that lack true faith.
This material was quickly published as three booklets in Japanese and has now been translated in English this month as “Spiritual Reading of Novel Coronavirus Infection Originated in China.”
But there is hope for the faithful, the Happies say. Along with the book series, they now sell coronavirus-themed DVDs and CDs of Mr. Okawa, the supreme head of Happy Science lecturing; the sound alone of his voice is meant to hold immune-boosting power.
In one video clip, Mr. Okawa advised, “You must knock out the coronavirus with your El Cantare belief.”
He also introduced the sacred text of a new ritual purported to miraculously cure the disease. It is conducted in private at temples, in exchange for donations. Japanese ads list several prices for virus-related blessings, going from $100 to more than $400.
Numerous members of the congregation have requested the coronavirus prayer.
“It’s amazing,” Mr. Hagimoto said. “We’re seeing people being cured.”
Before his extravagant reinvention, Mr. Okawa was born Takashi Nakagawa in 1956, on the southern island of Shikoku in Japan. The postwar decades in Japan had seen a surge in new and novel forms of religion that blended imported New Age texts with longstanding Japanese traditions. It was in this soul-searching mélange that Mr. Okawa came of age.
In the early days of the virus, Happy Science had proudly kept its Manhattan doors open for business even as some churches closed. But as infections in the city soared, the temple announced that it would lock up.
Beginning in April, Happy Science will administer spiritual vaccines remotely (6).
There is a legendary experiment that young Galileo Galilei did in the sixteenth century, perched atop the Leaning Tower of Pisa, he dropped cannonballs of different weights to see if all objects fall at the same rate due to gravity. They did. It’s a story that’s easy to remember, but whether it actually took place is debatable. If a Muslim saint, a Christian Pastor, a Jewish Rabbi, a Hindu Pundit or a Buddhist incarnation of Buddha were to jump off from Leaning Tower of Pisa to fly after their prayers, they will crash to the ground at the same speed. Gravity rules no matter what!
Likewise these religious experts despite their set of beliefs, dogma and rituals cannot fight or deny the biology of Covid 19.
In the words of Charles Darwin, as he quoted Francis Bacon from his book Advancement of learning, in the later editions of On the Origin of Species, to establish the proper relationship between religion and natural science: “To conclude, therefore, let no man out of weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well-studied in the book of God’s word, or in the book of God’s works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavor an endless progress or proficiency in both.”
WHO has not directly responded to the President of Madagascar, but they have posted on their website, under the heading of, WHO supports scientifically-proven traditional medicine:
“The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes innovations around the world including repurposing drugs, traditional medicines and developing new therapies in the search for potential treatments for COVID-19.
WHO recognizes that traditional, complementary and alternative medicine has many benefits and Africa has a long history of traditional medicine and practitioners that play an important role in providing care to populations. Medicinal plants such as Artemisia annua are being considered as possible treatments for COVID-19 and should be tested for efficacy and adverse side effects. Africans deserve to use medicines tested to the same standards as people in the rest of the world. Even if therapies are derived from traditional practice and natural, establishing their efficacy and safety through rigorous clinical trials is critical.” (7)
Indeed, only honest scientific method and not religious dogma or ritual will offer us prevention and cure of the novel Covid 19.