Monday, April 27, 2009

Not the Swine, but Mexican Flu

‘Don’t call it swine flu’ says Israeli health minister

WITH the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, we were taking bets in the pub last night as to which Islamic country would be the first to demand that the viral condition be renamed so that it would not offend Muslims.

Saudi Arabia was the first choice, with Pakistan weighing in as a close second.

Health Minister Litzman
But guess what? No-one thought of Israel.

Today Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman, holding a press conference to update the public on developments regarding the epidemic in Israel, recommended that it be called “Mexican flu” rather than “swine flu”.

According to this report, only two Israelis are believed to have contracted swine Mexican flu. Tomer Vajim, 26, was admitted to the Laniado Hospital in Netanya after returning from Mexico with signs of the viral infection.

A second man who returned from Mexico on Sunday was admitted to the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba and put in isolation after exhibiting suspect symptoms, including fever and coughing.

April 27, 2009
There will be no 'swine' flu in Israel

Israel's deputy health minister Yakov Litzman, of the United Torah Judaism party, on the ultra-orthodox wing of Israeli politics, said at a press conference this morning: 'We will use the term Mexican flu in order not to have to pronounce the word swine.' Both AP and AFP are reporting the story. Although my own sources tell me that Litzman is out on a limb and will be ignored, I happen to agree with him, albeit for different reasons to his own. See the end of this post for why.

If the wider government in Israel takes him seriously, Israel's minority Muslim population will on this issue at least be united with the country's Jewish population as pork is banned by both. I am waiting to hear from UK Chief Rabbi's office about their view of the term.

The World Organisation for Animal Health also wants the disease renamed because it is not exclusive to pigs. Tradition with past such diseases means they are usually named after their area of origin. They want it called North American flu, which seems a bit unfair to Canada and the US.

This comes as two cases are now confirmed in Scotland with several people they came into contact with also developing symptoms. Canadian woman has just been admitted to hospital in Manchester, suspected to be suffering from swine flu, Israeli authorities are still waiting for the results of tests to determine whether a 26-year-old citizen who flew in from Mexico last Friday has the disease.

The Church of England is not commenting yet. I asked for a prayer from its rapid response prayer unit but none is forthcoming. They think it's no more serious, at present, than the avian flu scare. Surely though a prayer is the least they could do, even if for the stricken of Scotland, Spain, the US and Mexico, because from where I'm sitting, this has the potential to be quite a lot more serious.

Bird flu was, by and large, just caught from birds. Hence, 'bird' flu.
This one seems to be highly contagious between people.

Hence the Israelis, if they pursue this, might just have a point. More than 100 people have now died in Mexico, and that's just the official tally. It really should be called Mexican flu.

How long, I wonder, before people start weighing on on Revelation, plague and pestilence? No doubt I'll be able to bring you links to apocalyptic flu blogs very soon indeed. On top of the credit crunch and the rain, it really is all a bit much. I can't believe the Church of England doesn't think it worthy of comment.

The best place to keep track of what's going on with Mexican flu, though, is Twitter. Google Earth is tracking its progress, conspiracy theorists are making jokes and some even sincere suggestions about God's purpose in all of this.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Email to:

Voice of Moderate Muslims

Voice of Moderate Muslims
Voice of Moderate Muslims

Moderate Islam Speaker

Moderate Islam Speaker
Moderate Islam Speaker

quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.