oa SAHARA : Journal of Social Aspects of HIV / AIDS Research Alliance - Islam and AIDS : between scorn, pity and justice, Farid Esack and Sarah Chiddy (Eds). : book review



Farid Esack and Sarah Chiddy, the co-editors of Islam and AIDS, underlined the fact that HIV and AIDS is a pandemic that is not out there but that, 'It is (here) with us!' They argued that the pandemic's persistent prevalence among Muslims is a fact that no one can afford to ignore. The editors drew upon Ersilia Francesca's 'AIDS in Contemporary Islamic Literature' survey (Naples 2002), which observed that voices such as Al-Azhar University condemned AIDS as a disease and opined that it is only common among homosexuals. These conservative voices argued that since homosexuals overstepped God's boundaries they 'deserve to die'! The traditional Muslims' judgmental stance and negative attitude towards the pandemic have paradoxically been echoed by Muslim social scientists such as Malik Badri. Despite the depressing statements that conformists made, there are others who have injected hope into the lives of PLWHIV. They have pursued 'a theology of compassion' approach which demands everyone to act justly towards whosoever has been afflicted and affected. Though relatively small in number, these Muslim groups have successfully intervened in stemming the tide. During a short space of time they brought about qualitative changes in the affected ones' lives and as a consequence gradually influenced the thinking and attitudes of (some of) the traditionalists.


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