An Interfaith Movement Against Malaria

In the Quran, it is written, “And anyone who saves a life, it shall be as if he saved the lives of all the people.”

As a Muslim, I believe that to save a life is to save all lives. This belief is echoed in the Talmud and in the New Testament. It is echoed by my colleagues and friends who are Jewish and Buddhist, by those who are Christian, and by those who don’t believe in religion at all.

If you bring up theology or politics to a group of Muslims, Christians, and Jews, they probably won’t agree on everything—some won’t agree on anything. But one thing that these diverse religious groups will agree on is that if we can do something to save a life, we should. If we can join forces to save even more lives, all the better.

Today, we need to do just that to address a disease that poses a threat to life in more than 100 countries around the world: malaria. Malaria kills a child in Africa every 30 seconds. Pregnant women and children under 5 are at special risk. More than 1 million people every year are killed by malaria; 90 percent of these deaths occur in Africa. In the U.S., we eradicated malaria more than 50 years ago, but today, more than 40 percent of the world’s population is at risk.

These deaths are entirely preventable—and as people of faith, joining with secular partners, it is our call to ensure that they end. Because malaria is not just spread by mosquitoes, but by apathy. In our globalized world, during this economic crisis, amid global warming and worldwide poverty, there are quite a few issues that have no simple solution. Malaria is not one of them. It takes a simple bed net to help protect a child in Africa.

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Sojourners Magazine August 2009
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