Kafr al-Hanadwa

Brothers, Chickens and Pigs by Mango Girl
April 29, 2009, 7:03 pm
Filed under: Arab world, Nutters and fundies, Political religion, Social issues

Remember when the bird flu hit Egypt and the MB parliamentarians were all responsible and sober and carried out public health outreach and information to calm the hysteria about eating chicken? Turns out they are quite willing to let their religious prejudices trump their scientific judgement when the flu carriers are pigs.

Swine flu is ‘more serious than the hydrogen bomb,’ the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition group, said in a symposium on the health scare on Wednesday.

No cases of swine flu have yet been reported in Egypt, although the Cairo parliament on Tuesday voted to slaughter the country’s entire pig livestock of around 250,000 animals in a precautionary measure.

The Muslim Brotherhood – which although banned is Egypt’s largest opposition bloc in parliament – voted for the cull, and said Wednesday that the swine flu outbreak demonstrated the wisdom of the Islamic ban on pork.

‘It is God’s grace in his Islamic Sharia to permit all that is good for us and to ban what is bad. We could understand the wisdom of the ban, or we could not understand it. But eventually time proves the truth of God’s words to us,’ Sheikh al-Sayed Askar said at a Muslim Brotherhood-sponsored symposium on the virus Wednesday.

Now of course the symposium might just have been held by the more nutty part of the organization and the shaykhs, and the article cites the MB’s official website as saying that pork is actually safe to eat and does not transmit swine flu. But it will be interesting to see if the MB bother with the same kind of outreach for swine flu when those likely to be affected are mainly Christian garbage collectors.

(Thanks to Ustaz Shakkak for tipping me off to the story)

4 Comments so far
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I’m very curious, why are Christian garbage collectors likely to be affected?!

Comment by Mirna

Because they are the ones who raise pigs, usually on garbage heaps in the outskirts of Cairo. The pigs feed on the garbage. There is a tangible difference in the political elite (and opposition’s) willingness to get rid of the pigs as opposed to a slightly more cautious perspective on bird flu, because chickens/ducks are kept by so many peasant families in small towns and villages. There was more sensitivity to what they stood to lose economically from the culling of the herds.

There is another story about the sectarian aspect here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/01/health/01egypt.html?ref=world

Comment by Mango Girl

[…] Brothers, Chickens And Pigs […]

Pingback by Pig fever | The Arabist

Thank you for the response. I wouldn’t have known the background otherwise. I have been to the garbage collectors district before and it is very sad that their livelihood is being threatened like that. I mean, just when you think the govt. couldn’t do worse to these people…

Also what a terrible lack of awareness in Egypt! Can’t any member of the govt at least just google it? :/

Comment by Mirna

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