Saturday, February 17, 2007

Religion of Polio

Not satisfied spreading hatred and violence, some Islamic militants and preachers in Pakistan are now responsible for spreading polio.

Claiming that a polio immunization program is a US plot to sterilize Muslims, militants detonated a roadside bomb, killing a physician and wounding three others.
A doctor was killed by a roadside bomb in Pakistan today as Islamist militants tried to halt a polio immunisation campaign which, they say, is an American plot to sterilise Muslims.

Dr. Abdul Ghani was killed and three guards wounded after he visited a mullah, or religious leader, in Salarzai, a village in Bajaur tribal region in the borderlands with Afghanistan.

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Last month, the parents of 24,000 children in Pakistan's Northern Areas bordering Afghanistan refused to allow health workers to vaccinate their offspring against polio.

Radical mullahs claim the polio campaign is an American bid to reduce the world's Muslim population by spreading sterility. This message is carried on local radio stations and from the loudspeakers of some mosques.

Health experts say the risks of a polio epidemic have increased. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recorded 39 cases of polio in Pakistan last year, compared with 28 in 2005.

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Muslim clerics in northern Nigeria spread the same message in 2003. They managed to halt all vaccinations in Kano state for about one year. By the time they resumed, 257 children had been paralysed and polio had spread into two neighbouring countries.

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