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CAIR Asks U.S. Muslim Prayer Leaders to Urge Swine Flu Precautions
Date:4/29/2009

Mosque leaders called on to offer health tips after daily, Friday prayers

WASHINGTON, April 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy group today called on Islamic religious leaders, or imams, to use daily and Friday congregational prayers in the nation's mosques as a platform for providing information about preventing the spread of swine flu.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said imams are in a unique position to offer public health information to American Muslims because they lead congregational prayers every day in the more than 2,000 mosques nationwide.

CAIR is suggesting that imams stay up-to-date on the spread of swine flu in their areas and stress the possibility of temporarily avoiding Islamic cultural traditions such as handshakes or hugs of greeting during a local health crisis. Imams are also being asked to be aware of swine flu symptoms that include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue.

"In times of crisis, public health and safety takes precedence over normal actions and activities that could lead to the spread of infection," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. "Imams, because of their access to those attending mosques every day, are well-placed to offer advice to community members based on input from public health authorities."

Awad added that Islam's Prophet Muhammad encouraged actions designed to prevent the spread of contagious diseases. The Prophet told his community, if disease breaks out in a particular area, "do not leave that place, and when you hear of its spread in another place, do not go there." (Al-Tirmidhi) Another Islamic tradition, or hadith, quotes the Prophet Muhammad saying: "A sick person (with a contagious disease) must not be brought among the healthy." (Fiqh-us-Sunnah)

The Washington-based council is asking prayer leaders to off
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SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations
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