May 30, 2020

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04/03 Link Pt1: 40 victims of coronavirus, more than 7,000 Israelis are infected; Tom Cotton Says China Is Due for a ‘Reckoning’

From Ian:

40 victims of coronavirus, more than 7,000 Israelis are infected
The Israel Defense Forces will provide the civilians of Bnei Brak with assistance, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed Friday, as preparations for traffic restrictions in and around the ultra-Orthodox city were put into place and the Health Ministry announced that more than 7,000 people were diagnosed with coronavirus.

By evening, the National Emergency Authority published a procedure for approving entry and exit from the restricted area on Friday.

Four more people died on Friday, victims 37, 38, 39 and 40 were all elderly people.

The ministry’s report showed that some 115 people were in serious condition, including 95 are on respirators.

The government officially decided to crack down on Bnei Brak on Thursday, approving a full military-enforced closure on the city. Armed troops from the IDF’s Paratrooper Brigade began being deployed early Friday to work with the Homefront Command and Netanyahu stressed that the responsibility for enforcing these new restrictions, including enclosing the city, rests with the Public Security Ministry and the Israel Police.

Bnei Brak has more coronavirus per capita than any other city in Israel, the Health Ministry showed. On Friday, 1,061 people were diagnosed with the virus there – up 513 people in the last three days.

Israeli coronavirus fatalities are mostly elderly men, average age 79.8

Most of Israel’s coronavirus fatalities have been elderly men with underlying medical conditions, in line with global averages.

The average age of Israel’s dead was 79.8 years old as of Thursday afternoon. Of the 34 dead, 21, or 64 percent, were men, and 13 were women.

Ninety-four percent of Israel’s fatalities — all but two — are over the age of 60, in line with the average in Europe of 95%.

The vast majority of Israel’s dead had underlying medical conditions, as do most senior citizens. Israeli medical authorities rarely specify which preexisting conditions the fatalities had.

The World Health Organization said Thursday that 10% to 15% of people under 50 with the disease have moderate or severe cases.

Dr. Hans Kluge, head of the organization’s office in Europe, said recent statistics showed 30,098 people had died in Europe, mostly in Italy, France and Spain. More than half of Europe’s dead were over the age of 80.

Kluge said more than 80% of those who died had at least one other chronic underlying condition like cardiovascular disease, hypertension or diabetes.

There are more than 980,000 confirmed cases worldwide, led by the United States with more than 226,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The US has recorded over 5,100 deaths, with New York City, the US epicenter, recording 1,374 fatalities.

The number of deaths worldwide passed 50,000 on Thursday. Over 204,000 have recovered from the illness.

Netanyahu urges wearing masks outside; announces stipends for kids, elderly

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday evening said all Israelis should wear masks when out in public, and promised stipends for Passover for Israeli children and pensioners.

He also introduced strict limitations to travel in and out of Bnei Brak, the ultra-Orthodox city with one of the highest coronavirus infection rates in the country, as part of new directives to stop the spread of the pandemic.

Netanyahu, emerging from voluntary quarantine at his official residence in Jerusalem after an aide tested positive for the coronavirus, said that people who don’t have masks can use an improvised facial covering such as a scarf.

Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman-Tov reiterated that Israelis should not rush out to buy masks as they should be left for medical professionals, but can improvise with material and rubber bands.

The most important thing, Bar Siman-Tov said, was that the nose and mouth were covered.

Netanyahu also announced that families will receive a one-off payment of NIS 500 per child (approximately $140), up to the fourth child, ahead of the upcoming Passover holiday. There will also be stipends for the elderly, he said, without specifying the minimum age. He said these payments will be approved via emergency legislation, and that payments will be made directly into bank accounts, with no bureaucratic red tape.

Plagued by failure: ‘The Yom Kippur War of the Israeli health system’

The summer of 2006 was a wake-up call for the home front. Israeli civilians, it became apparent during the Second Lebanon War, were inadequately protected, both against a large-scale military conflict and, as the Health Ministry later put it, “an incident of plague.”

The following year the State Comptroller issued a report. It slammed the Health Ministry’s emergency readiness and called for sweeping change.

Nearly 13 years later, amidst the worst health crisis the state has ever faced, The Times of Israel’s Hebrew sister site Zman Yisrael — in collaboration with Shomrim, the center for media and democracy — has investigated years of neglect and austerity within the health sector at large. Exposed is a Health Ministry that — many current and former officials who spoke on condition of anonymity contend — tragically fumbled its opportunity to close the gaps in readiness during the early months of the current coronavirus pandemic, before it arrived on Israel’s shores.

Prof. Meir Oren, a former director-general of the Health Ministry and former director of Hillel Yaffe Hospital in Hadera, likened the current situation to Israel’s worst security disaster — its inability to foresee the surprise attack on two fronts in the fall of 1973. Today we are seeing, he said, “the Yom Kippur War of the Israeli health system.”

Oren is deeply familiar with the country’s emergency health plans. From the early 2000s onward he has been cautioning the leaders of Israel’s health and financial systems, in person and in writing, that the country is woefully unprepared for the outbreak of an epidemic. In the midst of the current COVID-19 crisis he declined to detail the deficiencies to Zman Yisrael, but agreed to speak more generally.

Noting “widespread and complex” deficiencies across the board, Oren said that the heart of the matter is “budgetary neglect,” which he called a form “of starvation that all of the governments of the past 25 years have participated in.”

The placement of the healthcare system, its relatively low ranking on the list of national priorities, he asserted, “is a conceptual and systemic failure. What’s happening now with the corona outbreak merely exposes the nakedness of the system.”

Amid shortages, PM authorizes emergency airlift of eggs ahead of Passover

Israel will subsidize an emergency airlift of millions of eggs to the country ahead of the Passover festival that begins next week amid severe shortages due to coronavirus restrictions, the Prime Minister’s Office announced Friday.

“At the behest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, the Finance and Agriculture ministries will subsidize the import of eggs via air from Europe to Israel,” the statement said.

The statement blamed the shortage on recent difficulties of importing eggs from Italy and Spain, two of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus. Israel is usually self-sufficient in eggs, but the most recent shortages have been blamed on panic buying and hoarding.

Channel 12 reported that 10 cargo planes will be used to bring in the eggs ahead of the Passover festival that starts April 8, noting that there is an estimated shortage of some 30 million eggs.

For the past two weeks, Israelis have reported widespread egg shortages throughout the country with many supermarkets out of them entirely while others only allowing shoppers to purchase one or two dozen at a time or conditioning the sale on purchasing over NIS 150 in groceries.

Tom Cotton Says China Is Due for a ‘Reckoning’

As his colleagues spent January engrossed by impeachment drama, Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) was growing increasingly worried by the stories coming out of Wuhan.

At home over MLK Day weekend, Cotton pored over East Asian and medical news sources, growing more and more concerned. As the Senate resumed what he called its “partisan impeachment of the president,” he was telling his staff to start planning and was stepping out of marathon sessions to lobby the administration to take action before the virus spread.

Cotton’s self-positioning as the Senate’s first corona-hawk earned him plenty of abuse from the media. Two months on, however, as the virus burns through the country, the senator who saw this all coming could be running a victory lap. Instead, he’s kept a steely-eyed focus on combating the virus at home—and on responding to the Chinese deceit that he thinks ignited the crisis.

“As we get through this pandemic, there has to be an accounting and a reckoning for China,” Cotton told the Washington Free Beacon in an interview. “Because China, through its dishonesty and corruption, turned what could have been a manageable local outbreak into a global pandemic that will ultimately cost not only our people, but the world, trillions and trillions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives.”

Cotton has already put his legislative money where his mouth is. He introduced a bill two weeks ago that would aim to onshore America’s pharmaceutical supply chain by banning the federal government from buying Chinese-made drugs.

Coronavirus: China Floods Europe With Defective Medical Equipment

In Spain, the Ministry of Health revealed that 640,000 coronavirus tests that it had purchased from a Chinese supplier were defective. In addition, a further million coronavirus tests delivered to Spain on March 30 by another Chinese manufacturer were also defective.

The Czech news site iRozhlas reported that 300,000 coronavirus test kits delivered by China had an error rate of 80%. The Czech Ministry of Interior had paid $2.1 million for the kits.

A spokesperson for a hospital in Dutch city of Eindhoven said that Chinese suppliers were selling “a lot of junk… at high prices.”

“No. 10 [the residence of the British prime minister] believes China is seeking to build its economic power during the pandemic with ‘predatory offers of help’ to countries around the world.” — The Daily Mail, March 28, 2020.

“The brutal truth is that China seems to flout the normal rules of behavior in every area of life — from healthcare to trade and from currency manipulation to internal repression. For too long, nations have lamely kowtowed to China in the desperate hope of winning trade deals. But once we get clear of this terrible pandemic, it is imperative that we all rethink that relationship and put it on a much more balanced and honest basis.” — Former UK Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith.

UN Watch: China joins U.N. human rights panel, will help pick experts on free speech, health, arbitrary detention

China was appointed on Wednesday to a United Nations Human Rights Council panel where it will play a key role in picking the world body’s human rights investigators — including global monitors on freedom of speech, health, enforced disappearances, and arbitrary detention — in a move that has sparked protest by international human rights activists.

“Allowing China’s oppressive and inhumane regime to choose the world investigators on freedom of speech, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights organization based in Geneva that closely monitors the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council, and a leader in speaking out at the UN for victims in China.

“It’s absurd and immoral for the UN to allow China’s oppressive government a key role in selecting officials who shape international human rights standards and report on violations worldwide,” said Neuer.

China’s appointment to the UNHRC’s influential Consultative Group, comprised of only five nations, was announced in a letter submitted to the UNHRC on Wednesday by Oman on behalf of the Asian Group, and confirmed by a notice on the website of the UN human rights office.

By joining the UNHRC panel, China will be able to influence the selection of at least 17 UN human rights mandate-holders over the next year, known as special procedures, who investigate, monitor, and publicly report on either specific country situations, or on thematic issues in all parts of the world, such as freedom of speech and religion.

China will help vet candidates for the critical UN human rights posts — serving as Chair of the interview processes for at least five of the mandates — and help decide whom to recommend for appointment. In most cases, the council president appoints the experts selected by the 5-nation panel.

The appointment of China comes despite the fact that the government in Beijing is widely considered to commit gross and systematic violations of human rights affecting its 1.3 billion people.

Senior official said to report signs that infection rates in Israel slowing

There are promising signs that the rate of coronavirus infections in Israel is slowing following the implementation of strict restrictions across the country, National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat told cabinet ministers, Channel 12 reported Friday.

Speaking at Thursday night’s cabinet meeting that authorized a closure on the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, Ben-Shabbat said that “there are signs that the rate of infection is slowing down.”

However, he urged caution, saying this “should not be seen as a steady trend,” the TV quoted him as saying.

The cabinet also approved the formation of a ministerial committee headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that will be charged with determining whether additional towns should be declared “restriction zones” in order to curb the outbreak.

The cabinet meeting was held over a conference call. Netanyahu and Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman-Tov were in quarantine, after Health Minister Yaakov Litzman was diagnosed with the coronavirus on Thursday.

With its population of 200,000, Bnei Brak has seen the second-highest number of infections of all Israeli cities in total numbers, and the highest rate by far per capita.

As cops enforce Bnei Brak lockdown, IDF tasked with ‘civil assistance’ in city

The Israel Defense Forces on Friday was formally tasked with providing “civil assistance” to residents of Bnei Brak, a major hotspot of the coronavirus, as police established checkpoints at the entrances and exits of the ultra-Orthodox city on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.

The head of the IDF Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Tamir Yadai, said the military anticipated being sent to additional parts of the country that were struggling with the pandemic, noting the town of Elad, Migdal Ha’Emek and parts of Jerusalem were possible locations.

“Bnei Brak is the first place, not the last,” he said. “There will be other places where you will see IDF troops operating. And that’s okay.”

On Thursday, the military said two battalions from its 98th Paratroopers Division would be sent to the city, and on Friday morning, the government officially approved the initiative.

The several hundred IDF troops would not be tasked with enforcing the government’s order declaring the city a “restricted zone,” with limited travel permitted into and out of it, but would instead operate inside Bnei Brak, providing “civil assistance” to its residents, Yadai said.

The effort was being coordinated with the Bnei Brak municipality — specifically the head of the city’s coronavirus task force, Maj. Gen. (res.) Roni Numa — with the Magen David Adom ambulance service, Health Ministry, Israel Police and other government offices, he said.

This would include helping to evacuate sick and elderly from the city, he said, adding, “No one will be evacuated by force, only voluntarily.”

Yadai said some 100 people have already been evacuated to quarantine facilities, but that it was not immediately clear if this effort would be kept limited or would expand to remove thousands of ill and at-risk residents from the city.

The Home Front Command chief said troops would also help perform additional coronavirus tests in Bnei Brak to better map the outbreak.

Israel raises NIS 2m. to support orphaned twins whose mom died of corona

The coronavirus is supposed to kill older people with multiple preexisting conditions, but earlier this week, 49-year-old Tamar Perets-Levi from Lod fell victim to the virus and left twin 4-year-old boys orphans.

“It is our collective responsibility to care for these young orphan boys,” it says on a donation page in Perets-Levi’s honor – a page that helped family and friends raise more than NIS 2 million in 24 hours to help the twins.

According to JGive, the organization that both developed the page and helped market it, 14,113 people donated to the cause. The average gift was NIS 157.

JGive is a nonprofit project whose primary goal is to encourage charitable giving in Israel.

“The family came to us the morning after she died,” CEO Ori Ben Shlomo told The Jerusalem Post, “and we started immediately.”

The company provided the basic infrastructure for a Hebrew and an English page and used its PR and social media channels to help spread the word. Beyond the money given, Ben Shlomo said, people asked if they could donate items to help the children and some even offered to adopt them.

Ben Shlomo said the boys will be adopted by their aunt, but the campaign highlighted that “people are really looking for how to help.” He said that since they cannot go out and volunteer, they find meaning before Passover in giving virtually.

Now, JGive is running many Passover fundraising campaigns under the hashtag #Stronger_Together to help Holocaust survivors and those at risk, especially during this coronavirus crisis.

Perets-Levi was the country’s 17th coronavirus victim. Her husband, Shimon, had died of a heart attack shortly after the children were born.

EL Al flight returns to Israel from Australia with stranded Israelis

An El Al flight returning from Melbourne, Australia landed in Ben-Gurion Airport Friday morning, carrying Israelis that were stranded in Australia and New Zealand.

The two countries are the places in which there are the most Israelis seeking to return to Israel as more flights around the world are canceled.

The flight was the longest in the history of Israeli aviation, taking 17 hours and 20 minutes, having taken off in Australia and landing in Israel without any connections. It is among El Al’s first set of flights to fly directly to and from Australia, the first having taken place in late March flying from Israel to Perth, Australia.

It took 19 dedicated El Al staff members manning the flight to complete the 40 hour operation to return the Israelis, including eight pilots and 11 flight attendants.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that “from the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the Foreign Ministry proved that it will make every effort to bring back every Israel citizens that wants to return.

Israel to halt demolition of Area C’s illegal buildings due to coronavirus

Israel has agreed to suspend the demolition of inhabited illegal homes in Area C of the West Bank due to the coronavirus outbreak, Israeli officials told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Civil Administration has continued to remove illegal construction in Area C that belongs to settlers or Palestinians. More Palestinian structures have been taken down than Jewish ones.

Israel has been under pressure to halt such demolitions, especially when the best way to contain the spread of the coronavirus is for people to remain in home isolation.

Left-wing Israeli NGO B’Tselem – The Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories has appealed to the Civil Administration to halt such demolitions

“I was informed by top UN officials that the Israeli occupation authorities informed them that they will stop demolitions of Palestinian homes,” PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat tweeted on Thursday.

After Years of Breeding Anti-Israel Hatred, Egypt’s Education System Is Overhauled under Sisi

After Israel signed a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979, its education system continued to put forth a narrative that denied the legitimacy of the Jewish state. “Cairo wanted to show that despite the peace treaty, the attitude towards Israel hasn’t changed and that the hearts of the Egyptians were still with the Palestinians. That’s why Israel has been mentioned in school textbooks as the bitter enemy of Egypt,” said Amr Zakariya, a Cairo-based expert on Israel-Egypt relations. “Sadat’s peace initiative was sidelined and marginalized.”

“When President Sisi came to power, he decided to change that equation, realizing that Egypt and Israel shared a common enemy – the threat of terror, and acknowledging that breeding hatred would not solve the Palestinian problem.” Another factor that contributed to the change was the shifting attitude towards Israel in the Arab world. “It was for these reasons that Egypt under Sisi took a mild approach towards Israel and that was also reflected in the school textbooks.”

In 2015, Egypt released a new geography textbook for 9th grade that provided more explicit support for a peace deal with Israel, stressing that the agreement was crucial for the stability and development of Egypt. It portrayed Israel as a legitimate peace partner and featured for the first time a photo of then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who signed the agreement with President Sadat. The book also reduced the discussion of the Palestinian conflict and the struggle against Israel from 32 pages to 12.

UN: Settler violence against Palestinians has increased during COVID-19

Settlers and Jewish extremism against West Bank Palestinians has spiked by 78% during the last two weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, when compared to the rest of this year, the United Nations (UN) reported.

Between March 17-30, “at least 16 attacks by Israeli settlers resulted in five Palestinian injuries and extensive property damage,” the UN reported.

“This represents a 78 per cent increase compared to the bi-weekly average of incidents since the start of 2020,” it said. Its information on violence is based on information from its field reporters.

It spoke of two incidents in which Palestinians were assaulted in the village of Umm Safa and Ein Samiya near. Ramallah. In one of the assaults an ax was used and in another one a hammer, the UN said.

“Another two herders were physically assaulted and injured (in one case by a dog unleashed by settlers), while grazing sheep near Ein al Hilweh (Tubas) and At Tuwani (Hebron),” the UN said.

There were five separate incidents in the Burqa village near Nablus. There were also attacks in Al Mughayyir near Ramallah and the villages of Khashem and Dara near Hebron.

The attacks included the stoning of vehicles, vandalized structures and physical assault, the UN said. In the Gush Etzion region, some 100 Palestinian-owned olive trees were uprooted and in Hebron, surveillance cameras were damaged or stolen from a home and a school, the UN said.

Hamas chief threatens Israel over ventilators for coronavirus patients

The head of Hamas in Gaza warned Israel if more ventilators for coronavirus patients were not brought into the Palestinian enclave then his terror group will “take them by force.”

“If ventilators are not brought into [Gaza], we’ll take them by force from Israel and stop the breathing of 6 million Israelis,” said Yahya Sinwar, according to Hebrew media reports.

The terror chief highlighted Hamas’s efforts to contain the virus outbreak in Gaza, saying, “When we decided to establish compulsory quarantine facilities for people returning to Gaza, we knew that it would be a difficult decision that would cause a lot of criticism against us.”

“It’s our first line of defense. We can’t allow the epidemic into Gaza,” Sinwar said, according to Channel 12.

He accused Israel of not allowing medicines into Gaza, saying he wouldn’t return Israeli soldiers’ bodies until medical supplies came in.

Hamas is believed to be holding the remains of Israeli soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, which were captured by the terror group when the two were killed in the Strip during the 2014 war.

INSS: The Campaign over Idlib: The Dilemmas Facing the Salafi-Jihadist Organizations in Syria

The campaign to conquer the Idlib governorate, the collapse of the relevant agreements, and President Assad’s determination, with Russian support, to return the region to his sovereignty could pose an existential dilemma for the Salafi-jihadist organizations operating there. At that point, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, the central force opposing Assad and an example of a Salafi-jihadist organization that has evinced pragmatism and openness toward the Syrian locals, will have two main options: fighting to the end and subsequently breaking into quasi-independent terrorist cells (similar to the Islamic State’s method in eastern Syria), or relinquishing its assets in the framework of a political arrangement. The other radical groups operating in the arena, including Hurras ad-Din, which is identified with al-Qaeda, may take cover in the mountainous, forested region in northwestern Syria and fight a guerilla war against “the enemies of Islam,” or try to flee Syria and join the global jihadist camp. If international terrorist attacks are renewed, “Syrian alumni” could also pose a threat to Israeli and Jewish targets abroad.

Over the years of the civil war in Syria, the jihadist organization Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (the Organization for the Liberation of the Levant) has gone through changes and reversals in its political and ideological affiliations: from beginning operation in 2012 as the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, under the name Jabhat a-Nusra, to distancing itself from the parent organization, while gradually adopting pragmatism and moderate rhetoric. The organization has become a kind of model of a Salafi-jihadist group that operates with a local-national identity, without forfeiting its ideological and religious adherence. Its main mission is fighting against the Assad regime, and it maintains relations with regional forces that are considered infidels, or at least allies of the enemies of Salafi jihadism, such as Turkey. This approach led to friction with al-Qaeda and later to the break-off of a “rogue” faction that established the organization Hurras ad-Din, which is identified with it.

Five years after the rebels took over the Idlib Governorate, the fate of the organization and other Salafi-jihadist organizations could be sealed following the collapse of the de-escalation zone agreement and the Sochi agreement, and President Bashar al-Assad’s determination, with Russia’s support, to restore his sovereignty in the governorate, which is the rebels’ last stronghold. Since December 2019, a campaign for Idlib has been underway, and has already led to significant achievements for the Syrian army and the supporting Shiite militias. Chief among them is distancing the rebels’ fire from infrastructure sites in Aleppo and Hama, and recapturing the important transportation and commerce route – the Aleppo Damascus highway (M5). On March 5, 2020, after a round of fighting that included Turkish involvement against Assad’s army, Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed an agreement regarding Idlib (an appendix to the de-escalation zone agreement of 2017) that includes a ceasefire, the establishment of a buffer along the highway to Latakia, and the initiation of joint patrols.

Reuters banned in Iraq over coronavirus report

Reuters news agency was banned from operating in Iraq for three months on Friday following a report stating that the country was under-reporting the numbers of coronavirus patients.

Iraq’s Communications and Media Commission sent Reuters a letter informing them of this decision, which expressed outrage over the report that Iraq has thousands of coronavirus patients, rather than the official figure of 772, the National reported.

Claiming that the report “put social security at risk,” the commission demanded an apology and a fine of $20,000,000.

Reuters did not publicly respond to the story.

MEMRI: Salafi Jihadi Ideologue Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi: Muslims Should Rejoice At Infidels’ Deaths From Coronavirus

On March 31, 2020, Salafi-jihadi ideologue Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi shared a post on his Al-Tawhid Awalan channel on Telegram stating: “There is nothing wrong with a Muslim praying for the deaths of infidels and wishing that they contract coronavirus or any similar fatal disease.”[1] The post included an image from a news report on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s self-quarantine after one of his top aides was diagnosed with coronavirus.

The post appears also to be in response to a “Muslim doctor’s” suggestion that the death of any person, Muslim or not, is a loss for the mankind because person might someday become a believer.

It should be noted that Jordanian Salafi preacher and pharmacist Eyad Qunaibi shared a YouTube video on March 23, 2020 expressing the same argument, warning Muslims not rejoice at the deaths of unbelievers who might die of the virus and noting that Islam values every human being and Muslims should seek to save people’s lives and, later, seek to guide them to Islam.[2]

In his lengthy Telegram post, Al-Maqdisi disputes Qunaibi’s argument, claiming that even though there is wisdom in the creation of everything in this universe including infidels, their deaths can be celebrated. He wrote:

“Allah had a certain wisdom when he created infidels, the same as when he created animals, insects, and everything else. Yet this should not be a reason for us to think, or for leading people to think, that because Allah had a wisdom of creating infidels… we should not rejoice their disappearance, if they were killed or crushed or died because of the coronavirus.”

Condemning views that urge Muslims not to gloat over infidels’ grief or loss, he goes on to say: “Denying [Muslims] their wish to see others [i.e. infidels] perish or be destroyed… is a view that lacks knowledge,” he says.

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