Lucknow, Sep 2: Muslim clerics in Uttar Pradesh have advised the Muslim community to skip the traditional hug this Eid al-Adha in view of the Swine Flu which has taken 66 lives in Uttar Pradesh so far. ‘Greet but don’t embrace and hug’ this Bakr-eid to protect each other from the epidemic Swine Flu. “We are appealing to people to skip the tradition this year,” Cleric Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali was quoted as saying by NDTV.

The health advisory of prominent Muslim clerics has been forwarded to mosques, madarsas, and leaders in across the state of Uttar Pradesh. The cleric said that after the morning prayer, all the Muslims hug each other and shake hands and this would increase the risk of the contagious disease. He also said that it would be a shame if a festival helps in spreading the disease and people lose their lives.

On their requests, Imams across the state have agreed to announce the health advisory after the prayer in their respective mosques. On the occasion of Eid al-Adha, also called Bakr-eid, Imams made announcements advising the Muslim community to not hug this year as it would help in spreading the disease.

“The tradition of embracing one another on Bakrid can be done away for a year if it saves community members from this deadly disease,” Maulana Khalid Rashid was quoted as saying by DNA.

“Saving lives of people is bigger than any religion or tradition. The health advisory to stay away from embrace or close contact is a welcome step and no one should object to it,” said Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, reported DNA.

The Muslim clerics advised the Muslim community to stay away from crowded places and get vaccinated. They have also adviced the people infected with Swine Flu to stay back home and use sterilised mask.

The cleric also said that the announcement will be repeated on Saturday. Earlier, Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh had said that the infection spreads during monsoon. “Precaution and protection are the best treatment of diseases like Swine Flu and Encephalitis,” he advised.