Mallam Hadi Al-Modarresi

Prominent Iraqi Shia scholar, Hadi Al-Modarresi has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, as the epidemic continued to spread faster in the country.

This is coming weeks after Al-Modarresi claimed the deadly disease was “an act of Allah” against the Chinese for their treatment, mockery, and disrespect towards Muslims and Islam.”

The 63-year-old cleric who is one of the most prominent Shia leaders in Iraq and comes from a long line of active scholars.

He was quoted saying in February 2020; “It is obvious that the spread of this virus is an act of Allah. How do we know this? The spread of the coronavirus began in China, an ancient and vast country, the population of which makes up one-seventh of humanity.

“More than a billion people live in that country. The authorities in that country are tyrannical, and they laid siege to more than a million Muslims and placed them under house arrest. The journalists in that country began to mock the niqab of Muslim women, and they forced Muslim men to eat pork and drink wine.

“Allah sent a disease upon them and this disease laid siege to 40 million [Chinese people]. The same niqab that they mocked has been forced upon them, both men and women, by Allah, by means of the state authorities and officials.”

Hadi Al-Modarresi confirmed he’s been diagnosed with coronavirus in a tweet which came with a photo of him wearing a surgical mask.

The number of confirmed cases in Iraq of the novel coronavirus has risen to 79, the Health Ministry said Wednesday.

Iraq also banned travel to and from China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, Bahrain, France and Spain apart from official and diplomatic delegations.

The coronavirus was first detected last December in Wuhan, China but has since spread to more than 105 countries.

The global death toll from the virus, officially known as COVID-19, is nearly 4,300 with more than 118,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization.