Iranian Muslims Kiss, Lick Public Shrines: We Are 'NOT Afraid of Coronavirus'
Islamic devotees in Iran say they have no fear of infection as COVID-19 outbreak spirals
Defiant Iranian Muslims are demonstrating their faith by kissing and licking public shrines while boasting they are "not afraid of coronavirus," despite the escalating outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 across Iran.
Devout Islamic Iranians are releasing online videos showing faithful Muslims licking and kissing shrines to show they have no fear of infection.
The show of defiance comes as Iran is failing to limit the spread of the virus, with the coronavirus outbreak in the Islamic Republic spiraling out of control.
978 cases in Iran and 54 deaths have now been officially confirmed in Iran, the highest death toll of any country outside China.
On Monday, a top adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was confirmed dead from coronavirus, as other key officials are also infected with the deadly COVID-19.
Despite the crisis, however, religious leaders are continuing to reject advice from the Health Ministry to close holy sites to help stem the spread of infection.
Instead, the videos, which have reportedly emerged from Iran’s coronavirus epicenter of Qom, show Islamic devotees spreading misinformation about the virus while forcing young children to also take part.
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
More videos are emerging of people licking the shrines in the city of Qom #CoronaVirus, the epicentre of the epidemic in Iran.— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) March 1, 2020
Iran's authorities still adamantly refuse to close these religious sites.
The virus is wreaking havoc all over the country pic.twitter.com/veCQd6ots6
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
Touching and kissing surfaces in shrines is a common practice for pilgrims, and religious hardliners argue the holy sites of Qom are “a place for healing,” according to Breitbart.
But many Iranians are worried the clerical establishment is not taking the outbreak seriously, while Iranian health workers have reportedly admitted the number of people that have died from coronavirus could be five times more than government figures claim.
Still many hold a contrary view that Islamic faith will beat any virus.
“There are people who say that this shrine spreads coronavirus. I’m here to lick the tomb so that I can fall ill,” one man says in a video.
"This way, I’ve removed the virus. You can come and visit."
U.S. Department of State senior advisor for public affairs Len Khodorkovsky shared a clip, captioning it: “Don’t do this. Ever. But especially during the coronavirus outbreak.”
Another video from the city of Mashhad, where the Imam Reza shrine is located, shows a man licking the shrine and reportedly saying: “I have come to lick the Imam Reza shrine so that I contract this disease and allow others to visit the shrine with peace of mind.”
Videos on social media show Iranians licking shrines amid controversy over calls to close access to the shrines. #Iran has recorded the highest number of #coronavirus cases in the Middle East.— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) March 1, 2020
More here: https://t.co/K8O0DBk1zC pic.twitter.com/ywyXJjDTvm
As Breitbart News reported, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence announced Saturday additional travel bans on travelers from Iran.
The United States currently bans some travel from the Islamic republic, but that ban will be expanded to include foreign traveling from Iran or through Iran in the past 14 days.
Pence said the State Department would also announce a level four warning about traveling to specific regions in Italy and South Korea, where the virus is also spreading.
“We are urging Americans to not travel to the areas in Italy and the areas in South Korea that are most affected by the coronavirus,” Pence said.