Faith leaders from Christianity, Judaism and Islam support government efforts to control the coronavirus.
• Young men and women of faith can supply their digital know-how to build good communication during the crisis.
• Discussions are taking place about how the three religions can collaborate on charitable initiatives.
The COVID-19 global pandemic requires an immediate, whole-of society approach to prevent the transmission of the virus. During this time of uncertainty, faith leaders such as ourselves have turned to our religious texts and theology to find comfort for the community and encourage safe practices.
We have seen fellow prominent faith leaders from Christianity, Judaism and Islam issuing opinions, guidance documents – and even fatwas – to their communities that re-analyse religious practices and provide theological opinions on how faith practices or rituals can be adapted to meet the response of COVID-19 and implement social distancing.
Listen to all three faith leaders in conversation in this podcast
To slow the spread of the virus, we’ve taken to media, email and radio to conduct daily prayers and worship, mobilize individual volunteers to serve the elderly and at risk. We’ve engaged in discussions surrounding personal well-being and found new ways to communicate to our communities the importance of listening to the safety guidelines promoted by governments and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The ability to go to your church or synagogue or mosque in a hard time is really important to people,” empathized Rabbi Sharon Brous in the LA Times. Nevertheless, she practised social distancing and engaged with her community via virtual platforms, as recommended by medical and government authorities. She exhorted her synagogue members to find “resilience and level-headedness and kindness and cooperation precisely in their moment of greatest vulnerability”.
Lessons from the Abrahamic faiths
As some individuals may be wary of following the preventative messages pertaining to COVID-19 by government and international organizations, faith actors should utilize religious teachings to reiterate the importance of these measures for the safety of the community. The Abrahamic faiths all have teachings that profess the importance of taking action to assist others and save lives.