Ibrahim Datti Ahmed, the doctor who single-handedly kept polio alive.
From Nigeria, this dual phenomenon of conspiracy theory and re-appearance of the disease then expanded to Muslims internationally. (For an outline of its progress over the past ten years, see my long weblog entry.) So closely connected have Islam and polio become that the Muslim-only pilgrimage to Mecca became a major mechanism of transmitting the disease to faraway places like Indonesia.
By now, Ahmed's paranoia has sent the new wave of polio from Nigeria to Muslim populations in at least 17 other African countries and 6 Asian countries:
Africa: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Somalia, Sudan, and Togo.
Asia: Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
(1) A single conspiracy-obsessed Islamist, equipped with an organization and credentials, has caused polio not to be eradicated but instead to win a new lease on life.
(2) Thus has radical Islam brought misery to another aspect of human life – and made fellow Muslims its principal victims. (June 1, 2013)
June 19, 2013 update: The polio virus has appeared in sewage in Israel, meaning polio is present in 25 countries.
Oct. 29, 2013 update: Add Syria to the list, making 26 countries.