Views on the News – 28 March 2020


  • US Announced Records $2.2 Trillion Stimulus Package to Support Economy not People
  • IMF and World Bank Call for Debt Relief for Poor Countries
  • West Fails to Comprehend how to Deal with Plague, Instituting Lockdowns but Keeping Travel Open
  • British Prime Minister Johnson Tests Positive for Virus
  • US Places Pakistan on High-Priority List for Covid-19 Assistance
  • Saudi Arabia asks Pakistan Not to Sign Hajj Contracts

US Announced Records $2.2 Trillion Stimulus Package to Support Economy not People

According to the Financial Times:

Donald Trump has signed into law a historic $2.2tn stimulus package designed to prop up a US economy crippled by the spread of coronavirus, after more than a week of wrangling on Capitol Hill.

The package includes one-off “helicopter money” cheques of up to $1,200 for individuals, an extra $600 a week in unemployment insurance for those without work, and a $450bn bailout fund for US businesses, states and cities, among other provisions.

There are now more than 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US, making it the country with the largest number of citizens testing positive for Covid-19. More than 3m Americans filed a claim for unemployment benefits last week, an all-time high, as businesses shuttered amid city and state-imposed lockdowns in an effort to stem the spread of the virus.

It is well-known that the West cares very little for humanity. This is evident not only in their foreign policy, which is built on imperialism, exploiting the peoples of the world for the interests of Western elites, but is also evident from their treatment of their own people, who suffer a stressful, empty existence, many working from morning until night yet still living on debt and meagre government handouts. Western governments have access to vast resources but it is only when the elite are in trouble that they are willing to provide access to it. This callousness comes directly from the Western liberal secular creed that motivates the individual to care only for selfish personal material interest and disregard humanitarian, ethical and spiritual concerns, attributing them to suffocating tradition, irrational sentimentality, and baseless superstition. It is further reinforced in the Capitalist economic thinking, which calls on government to care not for the welfare of actual people but for the welfare of the ‘economy’. Governments promote fiscal spending during recessions not with the intention of helping people but with the explicit intention of reviving economic growth, again benefiting most of all the Capitalist elite. With Allah’s permission, the Muslim Ummah shall soon arise and rescue humanity from its misery, by re-establishing the Islamic Khilafah (Caliphate) State on the method of the Prophet ﷺ that shall implement Islam alone and carry its message to the entire world.


IMF and World Bank Call for Debt Relief for Poor Countries

Just as Western governments are announcing massive domestic spending programmes, they are also pushing for international relief, with the IMF and World Bank heads both calling for this. According to al Jazeera:

The heads of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday underscored the need to provide debt relief to poorer countries hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and said official bilateral creditors would have to play a major role.

The IMF and the World Bank have both launched emergency programmes to offer grants and loans to member countries, with a heavy focus on developing countries and emerging markets, some of which are already in debt distress. They have also called on official bilateral creditors to provide immediate debt relief to the world’s poorest countries.

“Poorer countries will take the hardest hit, especially ones that were already heavily indebted before the crisis,” the World Bank’s president, David Malpass, told the International Monetary and Financial Committee, the steering committee of the IMF.

“Many countries will need debt relief. This is the only way they can concentrate any new resources on fighting the pandemic and its economic and social consequences,” he said, according to a text of his remarks.

Malpass said the bank had emergency operations under way in 60 countries, and its board was considering the first 25 projects valued at nearly $2bn under a $14bn fast-track facility to help fund immediate healthcare needs.

The World Bank was also working with 35 countries to redirect existing resources to address the pandemic, with almost $1bn of those projects already approved. Overall, the bank plans to spend $160bn over the next 15 months, he said.

Malpass said the IMF and World Bank would present a joint plan for debt relief at the institution’s virtual Spring Meetings in April, but gave no details.

The poorest countries face official bilateral debt service payments of $14bn in 2020, including interest and amortisation payments, Malpass said.

Less than $4bn of that total $14bn was owed to the United States and other Paris Club members. China, a major creditor, is not a member of the Paris Club – an informal group of creditor nations working to solve the payment problems faced by debtor nations.

Given the large share of debt held by official bilateral creditors, Malpass said it was critical to ensure their “broad and equitable participation” in addressing the crisis.

The IMF’s managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, warned that half of the low-income countries were already in “high debt distress” and much would depend on the official creditors.

She said there were already discussions among the world’s 20 largest economies, the Group of 20, and in the Paris Club. But she noted there would also be a role for private creditors, as was the case during the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.

“The sooner we do it, the better,” Georgieva said. “The same way the fund during the global financial crisis brought together both official creditors and private creditors to assess a good pathway through a dramatic crisis, we have to do it this time around as well.”

The two Bretton Woods institutions, the IMF and World Bank, well understand their role in maintaining the world economic order. Created in 1944, they were designed to perpetuate the imperial economic order established by individual European empires but to do so on a global scale. The world economic order is designed for the transfer of unimaginable wealth and resources from what are known as third world countries to Western countries, chief amongst them the United States, where the Bretton Woods Conference was held. The purpose of the IMF and World Bank is to ensure that the exploited countries do not completely collapse, and so are able to continue to maintain the West and, in particular their elites, in luxurious comfort and astonishing prosperity. Hence these institutions inevitably step in during global economic crises with their miserly loans conditioned upon multiple Western demands and targeted to sustain the economic infrastructure upon which Western exploitation depends. With Allah’s permission, the Muslim Ummah shall soon arise and rid itself of the interference of the disbelieving West and its imperialist exploitation, and return the world to the open and just economic order that existed previously, guaranteed by the Islamic Khilafah (Caliphate), the superpower of its age.


West Fails to Comprehend how to Deal with Plague, Instituting Lockdowns but Keeping Travel Open

After China’s success in containing COVID-19, the epicentre of the disease has now shifted to the West, with the number of cases in America outnumbering those in China, despite Western announcements of lockdowns and social distancing. But locking down healthy people on them only obstructs necessary social and economic activity that is essential to the welfare of all. It is those who are unwell who are in need of isolation, not those who are well. Furthermore, it is not individuals that require social distancing but entire regions that need to be quarantined to prevent further dissemination of the disease. But Western countries are failing to do this, keeping international travel open. According to CNN:

The US State Department has repatriated more than 15,000 Americans who had been stuck abroad due to coronavirus but is still tracking tens of thousands more who may need assistance.

As of Friday afternoon, the agency had dispatched more than 150 flights to more than 40 countries to retrieve the travelers, many of whom were left without other means of departure due to flight restrictions and border closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ian Brownlee, the head of the State Department’s repatriation task force, told reporters Friday that they were tracking at least 64 additional flights over the next week and that they had identified about 9,000 passengers to take these flights.

While certain Islamic scholars have said that necessary travel to or from areas of plague can be permitted, the hadeeth is clear about prohibiting fleeing from plagued areas. Rasool Allah ﷺ said:«إِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ بِالطَّاعُونِ بِأَرْضٍ فَلَا تَدْخُلُوهَا وَإِذَا وَقَعَ بِأَرْضٍ وَأَنْتُمْ بِهَا فَلَا تَخْرُجُوا مِنْهَا» “If you hear of a plague in a land, then do not go into it. If it happens in land where you are, then do not go out of it.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 5396, Sahih Muslim 2218)

The misguided disbelieving West mismanage and spoil everything. Sanity shall not return to man’s affairs until Islam is once again established and the Muslim Ummah fulfils its destiny of caring for all humankind.


British Prime Minister Johnson Tests Positive for Virus

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the new coronavirus, the first leader of a major nation to contract COVID-19, but he insisted Friday that he remains in charge of the U.K.’s response to the outbreak. Two of Johnson’s top aides in the fight against the virus — his health secretary and top medical adviser — also said they had the disease. Johnson, 55, said he was tested Thursday after showing “mild symptoms”: a temperature and a persistent cough. “I’ve taken a test, that’s come out positive so I am working from home, I am self-isolating, and that’s entirely the right thing to do,” Johnson said in a video message posted on his Twitter account. “But be in no doubt that I can continue, thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus.” Health Secretary Matt Hancock was also confirmed to have the virus. Hancock, 41, tweeted: “Thankfully my symptoms are mild.” Chris Whitty, who is chief medical officer for England, tweeted that he had “symptoms compatible with COVID-19” and would be self-isolating at home for a week. Johnson, Hancock and Whitty have attended meetings of the government’s COVID-19 crisis committee and appeared at the government’s daily coronavirus press conferences. Johnson is the highest-profile political leader to have contracted the virus, which has infected more than 500,000 people around the world. Elsewhere, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa have all been tested and found to be negative. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau self-isolated after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. The British diagnoses are the latest evidence that no one — no matter how high-profile — is untouched by the global pandemic. [Source: NYT]

From the outset of the COVID 19 crisis, the British have taken an extremely relaxed attitude towards combating the disease. Initially, Johnson’s government supported “herd immunity” but then quickly backtracked under intense public pressure, and adopted flatten the curve strategy pursued by other nations. Also, Johnson is reluctant to impose a full lockdown on the British people, and this means that the virus is likely to spread at an exponential rate. The announcement that Johnson and his Health Secretary have contracted the virus along with Prince Charles (how convenient) sends a clear message to the masses to take social distancing measures seriously. Time will tell whether the British public follow Johnson’s advice.


US Places Pakistan on High-Priority List for Covid-19 Assistance

The United States has placed Pakistan among the high-priority countries that will receive US assistance for curbing the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, a senior American official said. Briefing journalists in Washington on Thursday afternoon on the US response to this pandemic, Bonnie Glick, deputy administrator of the US Agency for International Development said Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Burma and Uzbekistan were also among these high-priority states. The United States has set up a $274 million fund to help the international community in combating the outbreak of this deadly disease. [Source: The Dawn]

Despite being the richest country in the world, America is unable to protect its own population. The US media reports are rife about the extent of America’s unprepared to handle COVID 19. In fact COVID 19 has exposed the fragility of America’s healthcare system and economy. Within this context any handout given by the US should only be viewed as another tool to control Pakistan and other developing countries.

Saudi Arabia asks Pakistan Not to Sign Hajj Contracts

The Saudi government has asked Pakistan to stop making any contracts for Hajj 2020 due to the threat of Covid-19. The Saudi government conveyed this through a letter written to Pakistan’s Ministry for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony. The letter says, all the pilgrims must be directed that no new contracts would take place due to the outbreak of coronavirus around the world. It further explained that all these measures were taken for the good health and life of the people coming for Hajj from around the world. The Saudi government further assured the Pakistani government that it is regularly moni­toring the situation and will in­form Pakistan regarding the further development. It is pertinent to mention that Saudi Arabia has already halted travel to the holy sites of Muslims over the Covid-19 over fears just months ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, as the Middle East recorded more than hundreds of confirmed cases. The extraordinary decision by Saudi Arabia prevents foreigners from reaching the holy city of Mecca and the Kaaba. The earliest recorded outbreak came in 632 as pilgrims fought off malaria. A cholera outbreak in 1821 killed an estimated 20,000 pilgrims. Another cholera outbreak in 1865 killed 15,000 pilgrims and then spread worldwide. [Source: The Nation]

The Saudis have taken similar steps with other Muslim countries like Indonesia by cancelling Hajj visas. It appears the Saudis are using COVID 19 as an excuse to cancel the Hajj this year, and stymie the immense anger felt by Muslims worldwide towards MBS’s Westernization of the country. It was narrated by Abu Said Al-Khudri: The Prophet ﷺ said: «لَيُحَجَّنَّ الْبَيْتُ وَلَيُعْتَمَرَنَّ بَعْدَ خُرُوجِ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ» “The people will continue performing the Hajj and ‘Umra to the Ka’ba even after the appearance of Gog and Magog.” [Sahih Bukhari]. It is absolutely forbidden to abandon the Hajj and the Muslims must upend any decision taken by the Saudi to stop the Hajj.