Hundreds of Qadiriyya adherents break through border crossing into Kurdistan Region without coronavirus testing

Heading for sheikh’s funeral in Sulaimani
Dervishes belonging to Qadiriyya Sufi order at Bashmakh border crossing on Thursday July 9, 2020 (Photo Credit: Social Media)

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SULAIMANI — Intent on traveling to Sulaimani to attend the funeral of a sheikh who recently died, hundreds of dervishes belonging the Qadiriyya Sufi order forced their way over the Iranian border without being tested for coronavirus on Thursday (July 9).

“Among the dervishes, there are Kurdish, Turkish, and [Iranian] nationals,” manager of the Bashmax border crossing’s relations department Mukhtar Ali told NRT Digital Media.

In forcing their way into the Kurdistan Region, the crowd caused significant damage to the border crossing’s infrastructure and four dervishes were wounded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“None of those dervishes and Murids [Sufi novices] who crossed the border crossing were tested [for coronavirus] and all of them have violated the law,” Ali added.

In a related development, another large crowd of dervishes has gathered in front of the Sangaw checkpoint in Chamchamal in an attempt to reach Sulaimani.

The dervishes and other adherents have come to the Region in order to participate in the funeral of Sheikh Muhammed Kasnazani, which is planned for Friday in Sulaimani.

The incident is a serious breach of public health regulations at a particularly vulnerable time for the Kurdistan Region in terms of the local coronavirus outbreak.

Mosques are currently closed and the government has prohibited public funerals because of the risk that the virus will spread quickly among mourners. A funeral in Erbil earlier this spring caused more than 80 people to contract the virus.

On Tuesday, the Kurdistan Region recorded its highest one-day total with 495 new infections.

Nearly 300 people have died.

Iran is the hardest hit country in the Middle East, passing 250,000 total cases on Thursday and recording a record number of deaths over the past 24-hours with 221.

(NRT Digital Media)