Swine flu: Imam claims virus affirms Koran

Salerno, 28 April (AKI) - The global spread of the deadly swine flu virus affirms Islam's teachings and its holy book, the Koran, according to imam Amadia Rachid based in the Italian city of Salerno. "We believe that what is happening shows the truth of our faith," said Algerian-born Rachid in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI).

Pigs are considered unclean animals in the Muslim and Jewish religions and eating pork is proscribed.

"Even Muslims who live in Italy are talking about swine flu at the moment," Rachid said.

Most Muslims are not worried by the disease, as they don't eat pork and don't work with pig livestock, he said.

"But many believe the disease confirmed the teaching of the Koran."

The Koran orders Muslims to avoid close contact with pigs, as well as not to eat pork, Rachid noted.

"The Islamic faith doesn't explain exactly why pigs should be considered unclean animals," he said.

"But it's clear that for most theologians, it is precisely to avoid the spread of disease that Islamic tradition tends to keep men away from pigs," he added.

Scientific truths lie behind the teachings of the Koran that has taken many centuries for man to discover, Rachid claimed.

The number of probable deaths from swine flu in Mexico - the epicentre of the virus - has risen to 152.

A total of 26 cases have been confirmed there and at 79 cases have been confirmed worldwide across several continents.

Although the World Health Organization has not yet declared a pandemic of swine flu - warning it is a virus with "pandemic potential."

WHO said the flu was being spread by human-to-human transmission but has not yet recommended travel restrictions or border closures.

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