CALGARY — Canadian imams are urging members of the Muslim community to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
Twenty-five religious leaders have issued a joint statement pointing to "overwhelming, undeniable scientific evidence" of vaccine protection as a fourth wave targets mostly unvaccinated people.
The group says delaying or avoiding vaccination — unless under the advice of a medical expert — puts lives in danger, which goes against the teachings of Islam.
It says COVID-19 and its more contagious variants are contributing to a rise in cases and deaths, so getting inoculated is more crucial than ever.
The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada is holding its own lottery to encourage vaccination.
Any Canadian Muslim who receives both doses between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31 will be eligible to enter a draw for two pilgrimage tickets to the holy city of Mecca.
"We strongly urge unvaccinated Canadian Muslims (if there is anyone left) to get vaccinated," the imams say in the statement. "This will certainly help in saving lives."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 25, 2021.