Ever since Delhi’s Markaz Nizamuddin was identified as a coronavirus hotspot, several old and unrelated videos showing the Muslim community in poor light are being circulated on social media. In a deliberate pattern to delegitimize the community, a number of videos are shared on social media calling for a boycott of the community. This act of communalising a pandemic is disturbing as well as dangerous.
Muslim men licking utensils
A video where a group of Muslim men are licking utensils and cutlery is floating across social media platforms claiming that they intend to spread the coronavirus infection.
One of the messages shared with the video claims that 14 Chinese Muslims hiding in a mosque in Bihar were apprehended by the police and taken for coronavirus testing.
The clip has also been shared with a message claiming that the incident took place in Nizamuddin. “Stay aware, stay safe. Coronavirus is not spreading in India but it is being spread in the country. An example of this is Nizamuddin. (सतर्क रहें सुरक्षित रहें भारत में कोरोना फैल नहीं रहा बल्कि फैलाया जा रहा है। इसका ताजा उदाहरण निजामुद्दीन से मिले.)”
Video old and misleading
However, it was found that the video is old and is being shared with a misleading claim. Debunking the claim, Alt News revealed that these are Dawoodi Bohras licking leftover food from utensils to not waste even a morsel.
A Twitter user had shared the video even earlier, on July 30, 2018 stating: “Bohras eat together in a big “thaal”. This one is from a jamatkhana where on several occasions there is food served. What’s happening here is taking not wasting food at an extreme level.”
According to Dainik Bhaskar, religious leader of the Bohra community in Bhopal, Burhanuddin, told, “It is a custom in Bohra community that not even grain of food is wasted. For this purpose, grain committees are set to teach kids to not waste food. This video is of one such committee where utensils are being cleaned after the meal.”
As reported by BOOM, Zoher Ali, administrator of Dana Committee, a Dawoodi Bohra organisation said that he knew the boys seen in the viral video. “This is a 3-year-old video from Marol, Mumbai where the members of the group were cleaning the food leftovers in order to prevent food wastage.” He added that this is a symbolic practice observed by the Dawoodi Bohra community and it is done after a meal is over and before washing the dishes. “What this video shows is one of the initiatives where the leftover food from the cutlery and dinner plates is cleaned in order to make sure that absolutely no food is wasted. The idea behind the same is simple that people should realise the value of food no matter how little,” he said.
Logical Indian states, “Reportedly, The Golden Book of World Records recognised and awarded the Dawoodi Bohra community for “Largest Zero Waste” religious event for reducing, reusing and recycling waste. The aim was to eliminate food wastage and ensure that not even a single morsel of food goes to waste after meals.”
All the reports quoted here indicate that the video shared to blame Muslims for spreading coronavirus was old and misleading and does not belong to either Chinese Muslims or Markaz Nizamuddin. It was shared for the sole purpose to mislead others and create hatred for Muslims.