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Has Hajj been CANCELLED over Covid-19 for the FIRST TIME in historical past? Not when you select details over clickbait headlines

Has Hajj been CANCELLED over Covid-19 for the FIRST TIME in history? Not if you choose facts over clickbait headlines

Regardless of slipping off the information radar in current weeks, the coronavirus has pressured Saudi Arabian authorities to “cancel the annual Hajj pilgrimage for the primary time in historical past.” That’s one story making headlines. It’s additionally unfaithful.

The Hajj pilgrimage attracts greater than 2.5 million Muslims to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina yearly, and is a journey each able-bodied Muslim is requested to make a minimum of as soon as of their lifetime. Those that do can take the honorific title ‘Hajji,’ after fulfilling one of many 5 pillars of the Islamic religion.

Nonetheless, the New York Instances reported on Tuesday that, in gentle of the coronavirus pandemic, Saudi authorities have “cancelled” this yr’s Hajj – a transfer the paper described as unprecedented in 1,400 years of Islamic historical past.  

The headline is stunning, and a reminder of the fearsome energy of Covid-19. In actuality, Saudi Arabia – which has seen 167,000 coronavirus instances and 1,390 deaths – didn’t cancel the pilgrimage. As a substitute, it closed the Hajj to abroad pilgrims, proscribing the holy journey to just one,000 Saudis.

Moreover, the coronavirus isn’t the primary world occasion that’s interfered with the Hajj. In keeping with Center East Eye, the holy week has been cancelled outright on almost 40 events all through historical past. A bloodbath close to Mecca ended the Hajj in 865. A century later, one other bloodbath and the theft of the Black Stone from the town’s Grand Mosque suspended the pilgrimage for eight years. Varied plagues and epidemics additionally halted the Hajj, although the 1918 Spanish Flu didn’t.

The Instances described this yr’s restrictions as sending shockwaves of “grief” across the Muslim world. Would-be pilgrims who had been ready to spend their life financial savings actually had been upset, with one describing Riyadh’s choice as “a disaster on all ranges.” Nonetheless, Muslim commenters additionally voiced their anger on the New York Instances for its “sensationalist” headline.

Sensationalist headlines appeal to clicks, although, and again when the coronavirus was the one story within the information, the Instances was getting ready for an outright cancelation, publishing an op-ed by a Muslim scholar in April demanding that Saudi Arabia “droop the Hajj.”

The seek for tales that match an apocalyptic narrative has led the media down some peculiar avenues since coronavirus emerged earlier this yr. When protesters within the US demanded their states be reopened, giant gatherings had been painted as a public-health nightmare. Governors permitting their residents outdoors had been accused of creating a “human sacrifice.” Then, when ‘Black Lives Matter’ protesters took to the streets of their hundreds, the anti-gatherings argument took a again seat within the title of progressivism. The media went silent in a single day.

When some states, akin to Uruguay, beat the virus with little effort, the media attributed this success to widespread contact tracing – despite the fact that the Uruguayan authorities had merely informed residents to scrub their fingers. An analogous expertise was reported in Iceland, the place a much-touted contact-tracing app made no distinction to the unfold of the virus, which fizzled out seemingly of its personal accord. From all world wide, experiences got here in that contradicted the mainstream media’s ‘isolate or die’ narrative.

Actuality is a messy enterprise, and assumptions touted as gospel by the media don’t usually ring true. Maybe that’s why the Instances went with a headline that appears to again up its months of coronavirus fear-mongering, moderately than the much less fascinating however extra truthful different. Both that or the nation’s paper of file simply wanted a couple of additional clicks.

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