Iran has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the Middle East and the highest mortality rate outside China, but calls to close places of worship in Qom, the epicenter of the disease, have been met with defiance.
Videos have gone viral showing people in the Iranian city licking doors of holy shrines, insisting that the deadly virus will not affect them, nor stop them from worship.
While the city of Qom is the epicentre of #CoronaVirus in Iran, authorities refuse to close down religious shrines there.— Masih Alinejad ?️ (@AlinejadMasih) February 29, 2020
These pro-regime people are licking the shrines & encouraging people to visit them.
Iran's authorities are endangering lives of Iranians & the world pic.twitter.com/s9o6zYhzNQ
Several videos were widely shared online featuring devout Shiite Muslims arguing that people shouldn't be afraid of visiting tombs, and should reject calls to close it.
World Health Organisation @WHO needs to intervene urgently.— Masih Alinejad ?️ (@AlinejadMasih) February 29, 2020
Videos of pro-regime people urging even their own children to lick the #CoronaVirus infested shrines are surfacing.
Not only is this child abuse, but it's also helping the virus spread Iran and to other countries. pic.twitter.com/CDDYzSuxMF
As soon as the videos were shared online, people took to Twitter to express even more concern over the spread of the COVID-19 that has already taken the lives of more than 50 people in the country.
Videos show Iranians LICKING holy shrines in religious tradition as country's clerical hardliners refuse to close sites despite coronavirus outbreak https://t.co/gkgSs5I9VM Poor thinking is one way Nature uses to 'select' for death, illness & injury - nothing personal, just law.— Alex Rowan (@PsycheMentoring) March 2, 2020
3 to 4% of Iranians support #Iran's Islamic Regime. This religious minority has done its best to infect Iranians with #CoronaVirus. They can be seen in these videos licking germs on shrines of Shiite religious figures to prove that Spirits of Imams can protect them from #COVID19! pic.twitter.com/ujG29ETrjd— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) March 1, 2020
Social media commentators called on Iranian officials to recognize the dangers posed to citizens' lives by the near-epidemic virus and to contain the deadly outbreak by closing holy shrines in the city of Qom, where many cases have been recorded for more than a week so far.
There is no need to lick or kiss a shrine, for your prayer to be heard! No city is divinely protected and no shrine can keep you safe, if you don't be cautious and act responsible.— Nami Farhat (@Sh_NamiFarhat) March 2, 2020
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