Eminent Islamic religious scholars from Afghanistan and Pakistan Wednesday reiterated that polio vaccine is safe and compliant with Islamic principles, and that it religiously and morally incumbent on parents to ensure that their children receive lifelong protection from vaccine-preventable diseases like polio, states a press release issued by the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC).
The pledge to end polio is enshrined in a joint declaration issued at the Afghanistan-Pakistan Eminent Ulema Conference, an innovative step in the global effort to stop poliovirus, under the aegis of the Islamic Advisory Group for Polio Eradication (IAG). For the first time, the IAG convened religious scholars from both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to appreciate their value as community leaders and to secure bilateral support for polio eradication efforts across the joint corridors through which the virus is being transmitted.
This came as one of the prominent recommendations of the Fifth Annual Islamic Advisory Group Meeting in 2018, bringing together around 30 Islamic scholars from the two countries together with representatives of IAG partner organizations from Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).
Religious scholars from Darul Uloom Deoband, Darul Uloom Karachi, Darul Uloom Haqania, Jamia Binouri Town Karachi, Jamia Usmania Peshawar, Wifaq ul Madarris, representative of Ahlay Hadith Shura, Dawa Academy International Islamic University, Islamabad, and others prominent Ulema attended the conference.
As the last remaining bastions of wild poliovirus are in the bordering areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the two countries are tackling challenges ranging from poor health systems to community mistrust. As global polio eradication efforts address the former, advocates including religious scholars are essential to addressing the latter and persuading parents of the safety and efficacy of vaccines.