This is getting stranger and stranger. The Grand Mufti of Egypt is suggesting Muslim scholars issue a collective fatwa to postpone the hajj due to swine flu. Arabic version is here. Keep in mind — I know I keep repeating it — there have been no cases in Egypt. In fact, according to WHO's rundown as of yesterday, the only cases confirmed in the entire Middle East are in Israel (seven cases). And WHO says, "WHO is not recommending travel restrictions related to the outbreak of the influenza A(H1N1) virus." Oh, yes, and another thing: the hajj isn't until November. Am I missing something here? Has the hajj ever been postponed for health reasons, in all of Islamic history? I don't know, but I expect you'd need at least one infected person to justify it. (Not only are there no cases in the Middle East, except Israel, but none in Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan — well, anywhere Muslim.)
And a group of Egyptian Sufi sheikhs have declined to go to a Sufi conference in the US because of fear of swine flu. (I don't know about other parts of the country, but if there are carts in the streets and someone shouting "Bring out your dead!" it's not around here.)
Elsewhere it's reported that 44 suspected cases in Egypt have all tested negative, while the pig kill goes on.
For a country with no cases, the level of hysteria seems high, fanned by the press and irresponsible public statements. I know I've spent a lot of time on Egypt's swine flu overreaction, but I'm mirroring the local media.