UK mosque transforms into Covid-19 vaccination site

UK mosque transforms into Covid-19 vaccination site
The Birmingham mosque is the first in the country to serve as a vaccination centre.
2 min read
22 January, 2021
The Birmingham mosque is expected to give out up to 500 doses a day [Getty]
A Birmingham mosque became the first in the UK to open as a Covid-19 vaccination centre this week.

The Al-Abbas Islamic Centre is expected to give out between 300 and 500 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine per day, the BBC reported.

The mosque's imam, Sheikh Nuru Mohammed, says he hopes its use as an inoculation centre will help to dispel concerns around the vaccine in Muslim communities.

"It will send a strong message to our Muslim brothers and sisters. We are doing this to say a big 'no' to fake news and a big 'yes' to the vaccine," the imam said.

"Muslim scholars advise us to get the vaccine because the sanctity of life is important in Islam," he added.

Last week, Muslim preachers in more than a hundred mosques across the UK said not only that the vaccine is halal - permissible in Islam - but that it is also encouraged to be taken by believers.

"It is our ethical duty to protect ourselves and others from harm," worshippers were told in the Friday sermon coordinated by the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB).

The nationwide message came amid fears some people in Muslim communities may be falling prey to fake news and conspiracy theories about the coronavirus vaccine.

Dr Harpreet Sood, head of the British National Health Service's (NHS) anti-disinformation initiative, has warned that South Asian communities are particularly at risk.

Conspiracy theories shared through social media networks include false claims that the vaccine will alter the recipient's DNA and that recipients would be "tagged" with a tracking device during the inoculation process.

Other claims are religiously targeted, with some Muslims and Hindus being told that the vaccine contains pork or has not been approved by religious leaders. Pork is outlawed in Islam, while many Hindus follow a strictly vegetarian diet.

"We need to be clear and make people realise there is no meat in the vaccine, there is no pork in the vaccine, it has been accepted and endorsed by all the religious leaders and councils and faith communities," Sood told the BBC last week.

While the Al-Abbas Islamic Centre is the first mosque to open as a vaccination site, several other British places of worship have also opened as vaccination centres.

The UK has the worst daily death from Covid-19 in the world, according to research by Oxford University.

More than 100,000 people have died from the virus so far.

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