Multicultural News

Muslim leaders, doctors work to address COVID vaccine concerns

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Muslim community is working to ease concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine. A common question centers around what’s actually in the vaccines.

As the vaccine becomes more available to wider range of Hoosiers, the Muslim community is one of many doing what it can to ease vaccine hesitancy.

Faith is a major part of many people’s lives, and for those people, following religious teachings are vital. But when it comes to mankind, many faith leaders are emphasizing that the overall health of the world matters most.

“We are responsible morally and religiously to be a part of the solution,” Ahmed Alamine, president of Indianapolis Muslim Community Association.

The Indianapolis Muslim Community Association is one of many organizations taking steps to calm vaccine hesitancy in the Muslim community, most recently sponsoring a town hall with other imams and doctors to talk about the vaccine and what’s in it.

“We have a lot of community members who actually don’t trust the health care,” Alamine said. “And that’s why I used my religious authority in my religious position to show first of all that I would not issue any verdict without consulting doctors.”

For many people of faith, their religious teaching dictates what ingredients can be consumed. For those who practice Islam, a few things to abstain from are pork and alcohol. Doctors say there’s nothing in the vaccines that goes against faith.

“But our faith leaders also emphasize that if there were such things in medications or even vaccines, that for the betterment of human life and health, it’s not against the religion,” said Dr. Shamaila Waseem of Riley Hospital for Children.

Doctors said when working to minimize vaccine hesitancy, their knowledge can often go only so far. Having religious leaders lend their voice is valuable.

“A lot of people listen to them so they have an influence. And whatever influence they can use to pass on the right information about COVID vaccine for like people who don’t have access to us … and can get information from an imam, why not,” said transplant pulmonologist Dr. Adil Sheikh of IU Health.