Aussie Muslims Decry Reports Claiming `Eid Gathering Spread COVID-19

Unconfirmed report claiming that one of Melbourne’s coronavirus clusters originated at a family `Eid celebration has left Aussie Muslims terrified, as this could create a new wave of anti-Islamic sentiment.

“I’m really concerned, I’m thinking ‘here we go again’, scapegoating, marginalizing, unfairly stigmatizing the Muslim community,” said Adel Salman, the vice-president of the Islamic Council of Victoria, The Guardian reported Thursday.

Salman confirmed that the Australian Muslim community have shown great responsibility over the past months, abandoning large gatherings and family iftars in Ramadan and `Eid.

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“It just plays into the same narrative that Muslims are untrustworthy, that they aren’t like us, that they flout our rules, that they don’t have Australia’s interests at heart … Either they are a threat because they want to kill us and attack us or they are a threat because they are propagating the virus. It’s the same narrative.

“The Muslim community, we have been through this so often for many many years.”

Photograph: Daniel Pockett/EPA
Photograph: Daniel Pockett/EPA

Newspaper Reports

The report in the Australian newspaper claimed that the Coburg extended family cluster originated from a large family `Eid celebration.

The Coburg family cluster was first announced on 14 June. It involved 14 members of an extended family spread between Melbourne’s north and south-east.

The only source cited in the article was a receptionist at the Pakenham Medical Clinic, who confirmed that a female patient attended the clinic on 10 June, and later tested positive for Covid-19; she was believed to have contracted it at the family gathering.

Salman said on Thursday concerned members of the Islamic community have already contacted him.

“Even this morning I’ve received a message from a very senior member of the community and he was very concerned. He said ‘What’s going on? Can you do anything?’

“The month of Ramadan which, as we all know is a month for people getting together, family gatherings, family celebrations … I mean the sacrifices that Muslims have to make [in forgoing normal community celebrations]. They did that willingly because that’s what had to be done, and I think that should be recognized,” Salman said.

“Muslims acted very responsibly. I could not say that every single Muslim family complied, obviously, but … all the information that we’ve received is that Muslims acted very, very responsibly.”

The coronavirus has infected 7,558 and claimed 104 lives in the US as of Thursday morning, according to WorldOmeter.

The virus is especially dangerous to the elderly community and those with compromised immune systems.