“The Hindus are lacing it with pig’s blood to send us all to hell.” That people believe this kind of thing is amazing in itself, but it is encouraged in the mosques, where hatred and contempt of the unbelievers, the “most vile of created beings” (Qur’an 98:6) is inculcated on a regular basis. Muslim leaders in Pakistan bear the responsibility, as they do not confront this hatred or do anything to stop it.
KARACHI, Pakistan — When health workers approached Zulfikar Quaid about inoculating his three children against polio, Quaid picked up an old cricket bat inside his home and waved it at them. “Get out of my house,” he yelled. “My children are Muslim and we don’t need your dirty Hindu drugs.”
The health workers he was yelling at were stunned — though they’d become accustomed to hearing some Karachi residents’ resistance to vaccines, they’d never heard it linked to a Hindu conspiracy before.
Zarmina, the lead health worker, asked Quaid’s wife, who was standing beside her husband, why they were refusing the drugs. “The Hindus are lacing it with pig’s blood to send us all to hell,” she explained. Quaid was still holding the bat and waving it menacingly, and Zarmina, by now familiar with anti-vaccine fervor, decided that a quick retreat was the safest option for her. She motioned to her partner that they should leave immediately. In the past 18 months, 34 health workers had been killed for attempting to administer the polio vaccine.
For Zarmina the battle is personal. She became a community health worker after her eldest daughter died after contracting measles.
Since 1978, when the World Health Organization’s Expanded Program for Immunization was launched in Pakistan, conspiracy theories about polio have been rampant. While the supposed conspirators change frequently, the myth is usually the same and involves someone attempting to rid the world of Muslims — Zarmina and her fellow health workers have heard that the polio vaccine is part of a Western (or US or Jewish) conspiracy to sterilize all Muslims, or that Mossad or the CIA is orchestrating the campaign to kill Muslims outright….