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Meet Joe Biden’s Muslim Outreach Coordinator: A Supporter Of Narendra Modi And His Islamophobic, Hindu Nationalist Agenda

Imagine a friend of the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan doing Black outreach.

Joe Biden Modi

Once widely regarded as the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, Joe Biden now finds himself in a struggling campaign. Nevertheless, despite poor performances in early states, many see Saturday’s South Carolina primary as his chance to bounce back. To a large part of the Democratic establishment, Biden is still the man who can replace Donald Trump, a widely unpopular president who has been a part of a wave of far-right Islamophobic heads of state around the world, from Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, to China’s Xi Jinping, to India’s Narendra Modi. 

Despite presenting himself as a liberal counterweight to this virulent wave of Islamophobia, Joe Biden has hired as his Muslim outreach coordinator, Amit Jani, an avid supporter of Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist agenda. 

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In 2002, Modi, as Chief Minister of Gujarat, presided over a massacre of Muslims in the province, by inciting religious violence, which resulted in the death of nearly 2000 civilians, according to a report from Human Rights Watch. This was some of the most gruesome religious violence ever seen in an independent India. 

When asked if he regretted the violence, Modi compared it to feeling bad over accidentally running over a puppy. In 2005, Modi was subsequently banned from the United States based on his role in the Gujarat massacre, a ban that would persist for nearly a decade. It was only lifted in 2014 after Modi was elected Prime Minister of India. 

As Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and his political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) have continued these attacks on Muslims. On midnight of August 4th, 2019, Modi’s BJP-led government revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which granted Indian-occupied Kashmir, a disputed territory that is majority-Muslim, special status and internal autonomy. By stripping Kashmir of such status, Modi has opened the door to a brutal military occupation of the Kashmiri people. This occupation has stripped Kashmir of its internet, landline, and cell phone access, implementing a blackout that has deprived Kashmir of communicating with the outside world. This has particularly distressed Kashmiris living abroad by preventing them from communicating with their families living inside the region. Many abroad are unsure of the safety of their family members living in Kashmir, given Modi’s government’s escalated militarization of the region. 

Modi has also passed a Citizenship Amendment Act seeking to fast track Indian citizenship for religious minorities from neighboring Muslim-majority countries, while setting forth a plan requiring India’s 200 million Muslim citizens to undergo a citizenship registry, mirroring not only Trump’s call for a Muslim registry but also Hitler’s Nuremberg Laws, which targeted German Jews in what would lead up to the Holocaust. In the state of Assam, which has a large Muslim population, this registry has already been implemented. Residents must either prove or lose their citizenship. Those who have been unable to prove their citizenship are already being sent to detention camps.

For the past four days, the Indian capital of Delhi has been burning, masajid, markets cemeteries destroyed.  A preplanned state-sanctioned attack on peaceful protesters has resulted in a death toll of 35 and rising.

In the midst of Modi’s decades of Islamophobia, Biden’s Muslim outreach director, Amit Jani, has heaped praise on him. On the night of Modi’s election, Jani was in India, and posted a photo of himself wearing a BJP shirt on Facebook with the caption: “Loved the energy and jubilation throughout the state on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory in the Indian national elections! Proud of Deepti Jani[Amit Jani’s mother] for all the work you did during the campaign.” 

Amit Jani’s name appeared on the flyer for an August 21st event celebrating the removal of Article 370, opening the door to Modi’s annexation and communications blackout of Kashmir. Jani was listed on the organizing committee for the event. The keynote speaker at this celebration was Kailash Vijayvargiya, the National Secretary-General of the BJP, Narendra Modi’s political party. Vijayvargiya once claimed that Shah Rukh Khan, a famous Indian Muslim Bollywood actor is an “anti-nationalist” who “lives in India, but his heart is in Pakistan,” after Khan remarked that India is going through a period of extreme intolerance for religious minorities. 

On June 25th, 2017, Amit Jani also took a picture with Narendra Modi at a “community reception” in McLean, Virginia, the day before Trump’s “Howdy Modi” rally in Houston, which featured Donald Trump and Narendra Modi, before a crowd of 50,000 supporters. His mother, Deepti Jani, posted the photo of Jani and Modi with the caption: “Amit Jani with Respected Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” These are alongside other pictures on Amit Jani’s Facebook page heaping praise upon this Islamophobic leader.

In a Huffington Post article he wrote in 2014, Amit Jani spoke about the impact that Narendra Modi had on his family after he stayed at their Jersey City home when visiting the United States in 1993. He compared Modi to Barack Obama lamenting that “Modi and Obama have brought fresh voices and creative ideas to their governments, after many years of having increasingly unpopular and disconnected leaders in office.” One is led to question if Jani includes inciting hatred against religious minorities as part of these “fresh and creative ideas” of Modi.

Jani’s late father, Suresh Jani, founded the organization: Overseas Friends of the BJP in the United States. The organization sought to improve the image of Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP party in the United States, after incidents such as Modi’s denial of a visa to enter the US because of his complicity in the 2002 massacre of Muslims in Gujrat.

The late Suresh Jani first met Narendra Modi at a gathering of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS, an all-male, far-right paramilitary Hindu nationalist organization founded in 1925. Modi joined the organization when he was just 8 years old. It was banned in the first year of Indian Independence after an RSS member murdered Mahatma Gandhi because he believed that Gandhi was too favorable to India’s Muslims. 

The organization would be subsequently banned two times after that, from 1975 to 1977, and in the year 1992. The second leader of the RSS, M.S. Golwalkar was deeply inspired by Nazi Germany, which he said displayed “race pride at its highest” and was “a good lesson for use” in India. He even compared India’s Muslims to the Jews of pre-Nazi Germany. Golwalkar coined the term Hindutva and stated that India needed to become a Hindu Nationalist state. He said that India faced three “internal enemies” in reaching this goal: Muslims, Christians, and Communists. As Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi also oversaw the distribution of textbooks that praised Hitler, describing him as a leader “who lent dignity and prestige to the German government.” 

Islamophobia has threatened the well-being and fundamental human rights of hundreds of millions of Muslims on a global scale. This can be seen through Trump’s Muslim ban, the brutal military occupations of Kashmir and Palestine, China’s rounding up of Ughyur Muslims into concentration camps, and the Modi’s government stripping Indian Muslims of their citizenship. For Biden to confront this global tide of Islamophobia is not just important for the safeguarding of the rights of Muslims, but also important for safeguarding the rights of so many marginalized minority groups that are threatened by this rise of fascism and illiberal democracy.

For Amit Jani to be Muslim outreach coordinator for the Biden campaign is beyond insulting to America’s millions of Muslim Americans. At a minimum, the coordinator of Biden’s Muslim outreach should not be a man who praises one of the world’s leading Islamophobes. Modi presided over a massacre of Muslims, and since becoming head of state, has attempted to strip 200 million Muslims–in a country with the second-largest number of Muslims in the world–of their citizenship.

The Biden campaign’s hiring of Amit Jani as Muslim outreach coordinator would be analogous to a friend and supporter of the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan doing Black outreach. 

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Hamzah Raza is a graduate student at Harvard University and an alumnus of Vanderbilt University. At Vanderbilt, he received highest honors for his thesis on the role that South African Muslims played in the anti-apartheid struggle. He has been previously been published at the Huffington Post, Alternet, the Grayzone Project, Raw Story, and the Tennessean. Follow him on Twitter @raza_hamzah

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Aziz Gilani

    February 27, 2020 at 10:22 PM

    The fact set you present is really damning. Did you attempt to get a comment or reaction from Jani?

    • Avatar

      Sksd in carlsbad

      March 6, 2020 at 2:22 PM

      Every one should have right to speak, at the same time willingness to listen. One without the other is just noise and should be ignored.

      Thanks.

  2. Avatar

    Adams

    February 28, 2020 at 10:22 AM

    Quick correction.
    First…He is not a Muslim outreach coordinator. There has been no position like this in Biden’s campaign.

    Second…It may not be as intentional as it may seem like it. This is a general problem with Indian community as they tend to have connection back home through temples and others. Joe may have overlooked this.

    Third and lastly…Joe is not Tulsi Gabbard or others in Bernie camp, who have not condemned the action of Assad or others. Nor has he praised dictators. Washington’s Center-Left democrats have been crucial in votes for banning people like Modi, pressuring Burma over Rohingya, etc. They never sold out Muslims, but these Tankies did.

  3. Avatar

    GregAbdul

    February 28, 2020 at 3:59 PM

    Often, I sort of go at the Brothers and Sister who write here and I sort of dismiss you as off the deep end. However this one is serious. Joe Biden is seeking to be President and today we have a racist man who was in India cheering as Muslims were beaten and killed. Clearly India today is being run by racist nationalist. If what you say here is true, it means we must as Muslims ALL stand against Biden his candidacy until he cleanses his staff and explains why Modi supporters are on his payroll. The internet is full of violent pic and videos of Muslims being beaten for no reason other than them being Muslim. This guy losing his position on this campaign is peanuts compared to what is happening to Muslims in India. Insha Allah we all stand up and at least demand being tossed to bone of this guy not having a path to work in and be tied to a Biden White house. Oh! I went to a Biden facebook page and asked….and the only answer I got was to tell me I am a hateful Muslim and obviously your website is lying and unreliable. Sounds like a future white bigot gathering to me!

  4. Avatar

    Aziz Gilani

    March 1, 2020 at 9:00 AM

    • Avatar

      Know The Truth

      March 4, 2020 at 6:37 PM

      I have noble intention of bringing out the truth, every coin has two sides, I wanted to bring the other side of story which this article lacks as it is collections of all skewed articles and paid writes news items in the west media as part of propaganda. I do not want my Muslims brothers to be angered by biased news and propaganda of west media. Both Hindus and Muslims died in almost equal numbers in Delhi riots. I love all including my Muslim brothers and want to reduce anxiety and hate being generated by west media.

  5. Avatar

    Muhamed Borogovac

    March 2, 2020 at 8:18 AM

    Biden was so friendly to Bosnia, when Bosnian Muslims needed help. He was the only one who mentioned during debates the horrible things that are happening in Myanmar, China etc. However, this is so bad, I do not know for who to vote any more.

  6. Avatar

    Muhammad Khan

    March 3, 2020 at 2:04 PM

    How can this guy be the Muslim Outreach coordinator? He himself is not a Muslim has Biden lost it or is this just fake news

  7. Avatar

    Sarwar Hussain

    March 3, 2020 at 7:42 PM

    This kind message doesn’t help Muslim agenda. Please stop this kind
    of negativity, which only helps Non Muslim agents and their purpose.

  8. Avatar

    MuslimsAreHuman2

    March 4, 2020 at 7:43 PM

    Troll alert!!! No facts, no figures.

    Article 370 and asking 200 million Indian Muslims to prove their citizenship alone shows the “program”. Don’t even get me started on Amit Shah. Only prejudice is BJP. Try better next time….

    • Avatar

      Friend of Humanity

      March 4, 2020 at 10:09 PM

      Sure brother Muslims are Human and deserve to be treated as such. It is easy to push aside any well meaning message as a troll. No political party is ideal, do you think Imran Khan is good to our Muslim brothers in Pakistan. Are people happy with him? Has he fulfilled all tall promises he made for his election?

      Coming to your question on Article 370; it only benefited two political families (Muftis and Abdullas) as they scammed all the money leaving common people poor. For past many of decades violence and exploitation of Kashmiris have left many dead. Even though removal of 370 seems suffocating due to internet blockage; I see that has been relaxed and now interenet and social media is restored in Kashmir.

      https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/social-media-ban-removed-in-kashmir-broadband-services-to-be-restored-2189956

      More over there are no death due to bomb exploitation that earlier use to be common and killed common people on street. Reports show situation is far safe now compared to what was before removal of 370.

      Below is news link of envoys from 25 countries visiting Kashmir on 15 Feb 2020. See the video in the news link and hear Afghanistan and Uganda envoys statements saying normalcy has returned to Kashmir.

      https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/normalcy-is-almost-back-say-envoys-after-jk-trip/articleshow/74126177.cms

    • Avatar

      Friend of Humanity

      March 4, 2020 at 10:12 PM

      Sure brother Muslims are Human and deserve to be treated as such. It is easy to push aside any well meaning message as a troll. No political party is ideal, do you think Imran Khan is good to our Muslim brothers in Pakistan. Are people happy with him? Has he fulfilled all tall promises he made for his election?

      Coming to your question on Article 370; it only benefited two political families (Muftis and Abdullas) as they scammed all the money leaving common people poor. For past many of decades violence and exploitation of Kashmiris have left many dead. Even though removal of 370 seems suffocating due to internet blockage; I see that has been relaxed and now interenet and social media is restored in Kashmir.

      More over there are no death due to bomb exploitation that earlier use to be common and killed common people on street. Reports show situation is far safe now compared to what was before removal of 370.

      Envoys from 25 countries visited Kashmir on 15 Feb 2020. They gave statements saying normalcy has returned to Kashmir.

      • Avatar

        Sawanti

        March 5, 2020 at 1:51 AM

        Friend of humanity. It’s a clear prove on BBC that police was helping the radical Hindus to beat Muslims they were beaten so so brutally, they smashed their skulls crushed their internal organs , those Muslims did nothing to harm Hindus . India has become a terorist nation , killing poor Muslims for no reason .

        • Avatar

          Friend Of Humanity

          March 5, 2020 at 10:03 AM

          Please don’t believe everything west media shows. I also watch Indian news channels and media where Muslims equally participate in debates on issues freely and openly. You should follow Delhi riot reports. To see other side of coin to see complete truth, check out opindia.com and also youtube videos related to Delhi riots videos and news. Dont just rely on west media which is not always fair, we know about this from experience. Search google for Tahir Hussain Delhi riots, you would get better picture. Just for your information, both Hindus and Muslims died in almost equal numbers in Delhi Riots. Violence and hate should never be accepted in any civilized society. Muslims deserve full respect and love.

  9. Avatar

    Inaya

    March 4, 2020 at 9:02 PM

    In other words, “world is not such a bad place if we just ignore the BKP and RSS?”

    You have got to be freaking kidding me. 😡🤬

  10. Avatar

    Abdullah

    March 8, 2020 at 3:53 PM

    We are missing the point and the goal – there is no place for Terrorists and Indians who support Nazi ideology in American politics. It does not matter that this Indian is posing as a Muslim Outreach Coordinator or not; what matters is that he is part of the Biden campaign — his racist ideology and background should disqualify him from being part of ANY party that claims to represent the American people

  11. Avatar

    Mohan

    April 6, 2020 at 2:06 AM

    tch…. tch.., always portraying Muslims as victims and hiding their sins. why don’t you ask yourself why riots in Gujarat happened in the first place? How Islamic terrorists burned alive Hindu priests, women and children. why do you try to hide that gore?. where are your condemning articles when scores of Hindu and Sikh women are kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married to Muslim men with out consent in neighboring countries of India? where are sympathies when Hindus of Kashmir are harassed and pogroms are carried out against them by Islamic fundamentalists? and that slogans like “Hindu women should left for Muslim men” were announced from loud speakers in mosques.
    where is your outrage then?

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Aqeedah and Fiqh

Prosperity Islam And The Coronavirus Problem

Hadith: “Hasten to perform good deeds before seven events: Are you waiting for poverty that makes you forgetful? Or wealth that burdens you? Or a debilitating disease or senility? Or an unexpected death or the False Messiah? Or is it evil in the unseen you are waiting for? Or the Hour itself? The Hour will be bitter and terrible.

Islam encompasses all of human experience. We believe in the good and bad from divine decree. The ‘problem of evil’ is not a Muslim dilemma because the abode of this world is a test, and the next life is the abode of recompense. Those who do evil in this world may enjoy comfortable and pleasurable lives. Pious Muslims on the other hand may live in immense suffering and oppression.

One’s state with Allah is not known through worldly position.

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The Quran has lots of mention of suffering in this world and the reward for the pious is constantly in the hereafter. Distance from the Quran distances us from what our Creator told us about living in His world.

Habituation to feel-good religious programs and motivational talks has left us unable to know how to be serious. The Coronavirus pandemic should be all the motivation we need for serious learning and hasten to good deeds.

New-age religion and the prosperity gospel

Modern Islamic discourse intertwines notions of sulook (spiritual wayfaring) with new-age spiritual ideas which make spiritual progression a self-centering endeavor of ‘personal development.’ Missing from this discourse is submission to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), which entails doing what one is obliged to do- even if there is no apparent personal win. A self-centering religious perspective is antithetical to true religion, and ironically a spiritual pursuit becomes a selfish pursuit.

Within this approach, we see our practice of Islam not in terms of fulfilling obligations or understanding we must develop virtues we lack; rather we approach Islam as consumers and form identities around how we choose to be Muslim. This is visible on marriage apps where Muslims will brand themselves around how often they pray, whether or not they eat halal, and how practicing they are. Once this identity is formed, such Muslims are less likely to experience contrition and ultimately improve. The self is then a commodity on the marriage market.

When it comes to worship, for example, giving charity becomes an ‘act of kindness’ to fill the quota of selfless acts to becoming a better person. In other instances, acts of worship are articulated in worldly language, such as fasting in Ramadan being a weight-loss opportunity. One can make multiple intentions, but health benefits of fasting should not be used to articulate the primary benefit of fasting. In other instances, some opt to not pray, simply because they don’t feel spiritual enough to pray. This prioritizes feelings over servitude, but follows from a ‘self’ focused religious mentality.

Much like the prosperity Gospel, Muslims have fallen into the trap of teaching religion as a means of worldly success. While it is true that the discipline, commitment, and work ethic of religious progression can be used for material success, it is utterly false that religious status is on any parallel with material status.

Too many Sunday schools and conferences have taught generations that being a good Muslim means being the best student, having the best jobs, and then displaying the power of Islam to non-Muslims via worldly success and a character that is most compliant to rules. Not only does this type of religion cater to the prosperous and ignore those suffering, it leaves everyone ill prepared for the realities of life. It comes as a shock to many Muslims then that bad things can happen even when you work hard to live a good life. The prosperity gospel has tainted our religious teachings, and the pandemic of COVID19 is coming as a shock difficult for many to process in religious terms. There will be a crisis when bad things happen to good people if we are not in touch with our scripture and favor a teaching focused on worldly gains.

Why it leads to misunderstanding religion

Tribulations, persecution, and events that are outside of our control do not fit the popular self-help form of religion that is pervasive today. Islam means submission, and while we must avoid fatalism, we cannot delude ourselves into idolatry of the self. An Islam that focuses on our individual life journey and finding ourselves has no room for the ‘bad stuff.’ This type of religion favors well-to-do Muslims who are used to the illusion of control and the luxuries of self-improvement. Those who believe that if you are good then God will give you good things in this world will have a false belief shattered and understand the world is not the abode of recompense for the believer.

Islam means submission, and while we must avoid fatalism, we cannot delude ourselves into idolatry of the self.Click To Tweet

Tribulations may then effect faith because it questions the often subconscious teachings of prosperity gospel versions of Islam that we are in control of our own destiny, if we are good enough we will succeed. If this is the basis of a person’s faith, it can be proven “wrong” by any level of tribulation. Having one’s ‘faith’ disproven is terrifying but it should make us ask the question: “Does this mean that Islam is not true, or does this mean that my understanding and my way of living Islam are not true?”

My advice is do not avoid struggle or pain by ignoring it or practicing “patience” just thinking that you are a strong Muslim because you can conquer this pain without complaint. Running from pain and not feeling pain will catch up to us later. Learn from it. Sometimes when we are challenged, we falter. We ask why, we question, we complain, and we struggle. We don’t understand because it doesn’t fit our understanding of Islam. We need a new understanding and that understanding will only come by living through the pain and not being afraid of the questions or the emptiness.

Our faith needs to be able to encompass reality in its good and bad, not shelter us from reality because, ultimately, only God is Real.

Unlearn false teachings

Prosperity religion makes it much easier to blame the person who is suffering and for the one suffering to blame himself. As believers we take the means for a good life in this world and the next, but recognize that acceptance of good actions is only something Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows, and that life is unpredictable.

Favor from God is not reflected through prosperity. It is a form of idolatry to believe that you can control God or get what you want from God, and this belief cannot even stand up to a distanced tragedy.

Responding appropriately requires good habits.

Tribulations are supposed to push us towards God and remind us to take life very seriously. Even with widespread calamity and suffering, many of us still have a very self-centered way of understanding events and do not hasten to good actions.

For example, reaching old age is supposed to be an opportunity to repent, spend more time in prayer, and to expatiate for shortcomings. Old age itself is a reminder that one will soon return to his Lord.

However, we see many of today’s elders not knowing how to grow old and prepare for death. Most continue in habits such as watching television or even pick up new habits and stay glued to smart phones. This is unfortunate but natural progression to a life void of an Islamic education and edification.

Similarly we are seeing that Muslims do not know what to do in the midst of a global crisis. Even the elderly are spending hours reading and forwarding articles related to Covid-19 on different WhatsApp groups. This raises the question of what more is needed to wake us up. This problem is natural progression of a shallow Islamic culture that caters to affluence, prosperity, and feel-good messaging. Previous generations had practices such as doing readings of the Quran, As-Shifa of Qadi Iyad, Sahih al-Bukhari, or the Burda when afflicted with tribulations.

If we are playing video games, watching movies, or engaging in idle activities there is something very wrong with our state. We need to build good habits and be persistent regardless of how spiritual those habits feel, because as we are seeing, sudden tribulations will not just bestow upon us the ability to repent and worship. The point of being regimented in prayer and invocations is that these practices themselves draw one closer to God, and persisting when one does not feel spiritual as well as when one does is itself a milestone in religious progression.

While its scale is something we haven’t seen in our lifetime, it’s important to recognize the coronavirus pandemic as a tribulation.  The response to tribulation should be worship and repentance, and a reminder that ‘self-improvement’ should not be a path to becoming more likable or confident only, but to adorn our hearts with praiseworthy qualities and rid them of blameworthy qualities. Death can take any of us at any moment without notice, and we will be resurrected on a day where only a sound heart benefits.

Our religious education and practice should be a preparation for our afterlife first and foremost. Modeling our religious teachings in a worldly lens has left many of us unable to deal with tribulations to the point where we just feel anxiety from the possibility of suffering. This anxiety is causing people to seek therapy. It is praiseworthy for those who need to seek therapy, and noble of therapists to give the service, but my point is the need itself serves as a poignant gauge for how much our discourse has failed generations.

Benefit from Solitude

We should use solitude to our benefit, reflect more, and ponder the meanings of the Quran.  Completing courses on Seerah, Shamail, Arabic, or Fiqh would also be good uses of time. What should be left out however are motivational talks or short lectures that were given in communal events. In such gatherings, meeting in a wholesome environment is often the goal, and talks are compliments to the overall atmosphere. When that atmosphere is removed, it would be wise to use that normally allotted time for more beneficial actions. Instead of listening to webinars, which are not generally building an actual knowledge base that the previously mentioned courses would, nor is it a major act of worship like reading and reflecting upon the Quran. In other words, our inspirational talks should lead us to action, and studying is one of the highest devotional acts.

The pandemic should serve as sufficient inspiration and we need to learn how to be serious. I urge Muslims to ignore motivational and feel-good lectures that are now feel-good webinars, and focus on studying and worshipping. We should really ask if we just lack the capacity to move beyond motivational lectures if we still need motivation in the midst of a global pandemic.  The fact that after years of programming the destination is not the Quran for ‘processing events’ or studying texts for learning is symptomatic of a consciously personality oriented structure.

Muslims struggling to process a pandemic (opposed to coping with associated tragedies, such as loved ones dying or suffering) show the lack of edification feel good talks can produce.

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Continue Reading

Coronavirus

A Doctor And A COVID19 Patient: “I will tell Allah about you.”

Guests

By Dr Farah Farzana

I get bleeped at around 2.30am to review a patient. A Pakistani gentleman admitted with Covid19.

The lovely nurse on duty says, “He is on maximum amount of oxygen on the ward, but keeps on removing his oxygen mask and nasal cannula, very confused and is not listening to anyone.”

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I arrive as soon as I can to the ward. I stare at him through the glass doors of the closed bay, while putting on my inadequate PPE.

He looks like he is drowning, he is gasping for air, flushed and eyes bulging like someone is strangling him.

I immediately introduce myself, hold his hands and he squeezes my hand pulls it close to his chest. Starts to speak in Urdu and says he doesn’t know what is going on, he cannot understand anyone and he is so scared.

I give him my Salam and start speaking to him in Urdu. His eyes fill up with tears and hope.

I explain to him he really needs to have his oxygen mask on as we are trying to make him feel better. He tells me he is suffocating with the mask and he doesn’t like the noise. I grab his arm help him sit up in his bed.

We exercise synchronising his breathing and I put the mask and nasal cannula back on.

He asks me Doctor, am I going to die? I cannot hear the voices anymore, they don’t come to visit, everything is quiet and silent, like Allah is waiting to take me to Him. I am lost for words and tell him we are doing all we can to make him feel and get better. He tells me he has been speaking to Allah, he doesn’t care for himself just his family. I know he is scared and feels so alone. I tell him I’m here with him and am not leaving yet. I monitor his saturations and surely they come straight back up. I tell him I am going to give him medications for his temperatures and fluid in his lungs.

He agrees to take them.

He asks me why I didn’t come to see him until now, because I am his own. He says when he speaks to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) he will tell Him about me and that I am a good person and I cared for him.

I get a little choked up.

I can’t gather my thoughts before my bleep goes off again. I have to leave now though I tell him I have lots of patients who need my help. He begs me not to leave, but understands after a while and lets me go.I take off my inadequate surgical mask (PPE) before I leave the bay I look back at him to smile and he smiles back. We both wave goodbye. I can see tears rolling down his cheeks.

I don’t know how he will do, how he is now but I cannot stop thinking about him. I always assume positive outcome if I don’t get called back during the night to see the patient again. Plus it was such a busy night I had no time to stop to reflect, and I continued with a smile.

I speak fluent Bangla and my Urdu isn’t very good. But that night Urdu flawed so effortlessly out of my mouth without any hesitation and I was able to say exactly what I needed to him *SubhanAllah*.

My heart breaks for the minority patients, with language barriers. They are fighting this battle more alone and scared than ever.
Normally, they would rely on family members to translate for them, but given the current situation they must feel helpless.

It’s not just the suffering it’s the suffering alone that pulls on my heartstrings.

‘Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return’
Quran 2:156

When all this is over, please remember to appreciate the little things.

  • Appreciate your freedom.
  • Appreciate all the hugs and love.
  • Appreciate your health and your health service.
  • Appreciate your families and loved ones.
  • And just be grateful to be ALIVE.
  • Stay at home. Save lives.
    #stayhome #nhs #gratitude

Courtesy: Facebook post

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#Current Affairs

COVID19: Calling The Conscientious

Violating borders, scaling every wall and traveling faster than a rumor, COVID19 is now around nearly everywhere. It has reduced nations and societies, low and mighty, to their knees, demoted all preoccupations to insignificance and is threatening to torch everyone in its path.

The imperial hubris of nations, with and without nuclear weapons has crumbled. Mighty militaries have been reduced to mere spectators. Borders are closed. Markets have tumbled. Even the gods amongst humans – rulers, monarchs, dictators, religious heads, generals, billionaires, movie stars, icons of sports and music –have been forced to recede from the limelight. Neither they are in control nor can they perform. All of them are forced to surrender by an unseen microscopic speck with an insatiable appetite to devour humankind, bit-by-bit, part by part.

A pre-COVID19 world is now a blurred memory. It was not long ago that we were a different planet and a different people. Neither hand-sanitizers nor masks were precious enough to purchase let alone hoard, or even think about. YouTube was popular but not so much for videos on how to wash hands or what to do when self-quarantined. And, shaking hands were a norm and we used to respond with a “bless you” to our neighbor’s cough or sneeze.

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That was pre-COVID19.

Places of worship are already shut down and airports, train stations and shipping ports are shutting down. Boulevards and avenues are eerily silent. Shopping malls and theaters stand abandoned.

This is post-COVID19.

Yet, there are flashes of hope and inspiration. Medical professionals and health care workers are fighting to save mankind, a patient a time. Our ill equipped and fatigued hospitals are abodes of our new heroes and true patriots. And no less are trash collectors, grocery workers, truck drivers, postal workers, fruit pickers among others whom we took for granted all along.

Covid-19 is not just the biggest story of our time, it is the only story.

Amidst a piercing cacophony of politicians’ press conferences and public interest advisories, we cannot afford to miss out the soft whispers of COVID19.

It is telling us to pay more attention to the under-estimated meaningful over the hyper-marketed mundane. Its whispers remind us to remember that we are but a mere mortal. We are reminded in the Quran that God made us from a mere speck (40:67).

Not, too long ago, we seldom had to remind ourselves that we are human. Not too long ago we could afford to be enemies of ourselves. Humans were enemies of humans, fighting and taking life of those considered ‘others’. We fostered division … “them” and “us,” “citizens” and “illegals.” COVID19 has spoken: no more. We stoked exclusion … “black, brown and white,” “conservative and liberal,” and “urban and rural.” COVID19 has spoken: no more.

In its sweeping trail of destruction, COVID19, is imploring us — harness my power to cause dread in each one of you, across borders, across genders, across races — and unite. COVID19 is challenging us: find a common cause against me. When any of you find an antidote against me, may that be a reason for your coming together, even if right now I have forced you to stay away from each other – six feet part.

COVID19 is an equal opportunity and a non-discriminating enemy, which will kill no matter how we worship, what we eat, where we live. One touch strikes all with equal precision.

Today, as we face an existential threat from a mortal molecular foe, we must remind ourselves about what matters most, our humanity and not our race and nationality.

The truth is that long before COVID19 struck us, we were sick. We spread viruses; hate and bigotry, we held thoughts of xenophobia for those who did not deserve it. We wallowed in bias and built echo chambers. COVID19 exposed all of our pre-COVID19 shortcomings.

Coronavirus will kill us for a while, but then in the end, we will overpower it. But before that happens, all the human deaths would be in vain if we don’t realize that in a world of such threats, we never needed to have been at each other’s throats.

In fear and panic, people resort to extreme behavior, it amazes us with their capacity for wisdom and kindness, or stupidity and cruelty. COVID19 is beseeching us to reclaim and regain our humanity of compassion and kindness. It is telling us to come together to fight our common battles. It is forcing us to wash our hands of all sins of our past and then lock our hearts and hands and build a world where meaning must matter more than the mundane.

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