The only surprising thing about this article is that these people believe in pathogens at all.
Following a recent outbreak of swine flu in the West Bank, which later spread to Gaza as well, ‘Issam Shawer, a columnist in the Hamas daily Falastin, wrote that women are the worst transmitters of diseases because they tend to gather in groups and to move from place to place. He advised them to wear a niqab, saying it protects them from infection, and called to limit their movement in the next few months in order to curb the spread of germs.
The following are excerpts from his article:
“The swine flu virus, H1N1, is spreading through the West Bank towns, especially the northern ones. Four people have died so far and dozens are sick, and the numbers are increasing, [though] we hope they will stop.
“I believe that women are the most numerous and fastest transmitters of viral diseases and epidemics such as swine flu, and I am not making baseless accusations when I describe them as such. This is especially [true] in Arab societies like ours, which follow customs that are positive and pleasant, but are also deadly in [certain] unusual circumstances. [For example, when there is need] to make a condolence call, women emerge from every corner and flock from every direction, even from afar, and then congregate in one place. They comfort [the family] and also trade stories – this is very important to them – and spread news and rumors, but also viruses that waft through the stuffy air. Then they disperse, and many go on to perform some other duty at some other home or function hall. This is why I think women are the fastest transmitters of epidemics.