Religious Crisis Communication during Covid-19 Pandemic: Observing Religious Interaction and Information Gap between Rural People and Religious Leaders in Bangladesh

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Monira Begum
Mahmoda Akther


Through disseminating religious beliefs and bits of advice, religious leaders can play a very significant role in creating awareness among rural people and their decision-making against any kind of crisis moment. From the very beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic surged in Bangladesh, people were informed and requested to follow all restrictions and guidelines provided by the governmental and non-governmental authorities, especially to avoid social gatherings and keep social distance everywhere, more exact at mosques. But in rural areas, most of the time people were keen to go to mosques more than other public places without taking any safety as well as ignoring distancing zone during prayer time. Giving importance to this crisis, this study feels the demand of judging the activities and interaction of religious leaders with the rural people in creating awareness during this pandemic. The first objective of this research is to find out if rural people and religious leaders maintain restrictions and guidelines provided by the authorities during the pandemic, adding more if there was any information gap among rural people and religious leaders regarding pandemic related knowledge. The second objective of this study observes if the religious leaders are well informed by the authorities’ restrictions or deluged with conservative thinking and rumors during this pandemic, and the last objective deals with the impact of religious leader’s talk on rural people in shaping their beliefs, decision making, and responses against the pandemic. This study follows rational choice theory, information gap theory, and decision-making theory besides surveying 150 rural people and a key informant interview and an in-depth interview with three respective religious leaders living in a village to meet the objectives of the study.

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