Congrès Mondial des Études sur le Moyen-Orient et l'Afrique du Nord

Barcelone du 19 au 24 Juillet 2010


Organ Donation and Muslims in Europe: Islamic Perspectives and Social Realities (111) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED institution: Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University (The Netherlands)

· NOT_DEFINED organizer: Mohammed Ghaly

· NOT_DEFINED language: English

· NOT_DEFINED description: Organ donation and Muslims in Europe is a knotty topic which attracts increasing attention in the public debates in different European countries. However, interdisciplinary academic studies on this topic are still to be done. This panel addresses this topic through interdisciplinary approach, with main focus on the UK and the Netherlands, keeping in mind that religion has been always seen as the most problematic element in this issue. Two papers fathom out the Islamic perspectives on organ donation within the Sunni and Shiah traditions, as developed in the Muslim world. The third paper focuses on the relevance of these perspectives for Muslims in Europe, especially in the UK and the Netherlands. The last two papers, on the basis of empirical studies, fathom out the reality of Muslims in the UK and the Netherlands and the probable influence of religious, socio-cultural or other factors in shaping this reality.

Chair: Mohammed Ghaly, Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University

Discussant: G. Randhawa, University of Bedfordshire

Paper presenter: Muhammad Ali al-Bar, Medical Ethics Center, IMC, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Organ Transplantation: A Sunni Islamic Perspective
This paper reviews the standpoints of Muslim jurists within the Sunni tradition on organ transplantation. Muslim jurists allowed different forms of bone grafts (autograft, allograft and xenograft) for widely broken bones. Ibn Sina (d. 1037) discussed this subject in Al-Canoon 1000 years ago. In 1951 the Muftis of Egypt and Tunisia allowed, under specific conditions, corneal transplants from dead persons. Thereafter, many fatwas on organ transplantation have been issued from different parts of the Muslim world. In Amman, Jordon, the International Islamic Jurist Council recognized brain death as a recognized sign of death in Islam, in October 1986. This paved the way for organ transplantation from brain dead persons, which started immediately in Saudi Arabia. In 1990 and 2003 the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) and the Islamic Fiqh Academy (IFA) issued respectively important fatwas on organ transplantation. By the end of 2008, more than 3600 organs were transplanted from brain dead persons in Saudi Arabia.

Paper presenter: Farrokh Sekaleshfar, Manchester University, UK, Organ Donation in Shiah Islam
The sources of legislation from which Shiah jurisprudents employ Islamic rulings, on medical and non-medical matters, include the Quran, Traditions and reason. This paper shall first outline the method of extrapolating rulings and then illustrate how different legal mechanisms are put into play when fatwas are issued on different aspects of organ donation. The main function of jurisprudents lies in their understanding of the verses of the Quran and Traditions; some of the pivotal concepts extracted from the transmitted texts that constitute the driving force and rationale behind Shiah jurisprudents rulings are those of personhood, ownership and the sanctity of life. All forms of donations are legitimate in Islam as a result of the sanctity of life and the lack of evidences indicating such procedures, prohibition, irrespective of whether the organs are derived from animals, living people or human cadavers. These will be discussed in addition to the exceptions that would deem donations as illegal.

Paper presenter: Mohammed Ghaly, Leiden University, the Netherlands, Islamic Perspectives on Organ Donation: The Relevance for Muslims in Europe
The geographical context of modern fatwas (since the 1950s) of Muslim scholars on organ donation has been the Muslim world where Muslims live as majority. Attention to Muslims minorities in Europe just started by the 1980s. How do the Islamic perspectives on organ donation developed in the Muslim world find their way to Muslims living in Europe? How influential are these perspectives for the discussions about organ donation and European Muslims? Which updates do these perspectives undergo when they travel from the Muslim world to Europe and why? These questions will be investigated at the hand of a) the relevant discussions of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) in 2000 and b) the proceedings of two national conferences held in 2000 and 2006 respectively in Britain and the Netherlands where a group of authoritative Muslim scholars besides the Ministry of Health of each country have participated.

Paper presenter: Massey, E.K., Claassens, L., Maasdam, L. Zuidema, W., Busschbach, J.J. & Weimar, W, Erasmus University, the Netherlands, Attitudes towards Organ Donation among Dutch Muslims: A Qualitative Study.
Recent research has demonstrated that Dutch ethnic minorities, especially those with Muslim background, hold less positive attitudes towards organ donation than the indigenous Dutch population. Questions about the role of religion in this issue became central in the Dutch public debate. To what extent then does religion play a role in the attitude of Muslim kidney patients and their families towards organ donation? In order to answer this question an ongoing study is being conducted at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Focus groups and individual interviews are being conducted among Dutch Muslim kidney patients and their families. The aim is to gain deeper insight into both religious and socio-cultural factors that may influence the attitudes of Dutch Muslims towards donating or receiving organs. Such information will help approach and communicate with Muslims in the Netherlands in a more effective way. This qualitative study started in October 2009 and finishes in March 2010. Results will be presented and discussed in this panel.

Paper presenter: Gurch Randhawa, University of Bedfordshire, Muslim Leaders and Organ Donation: Findings from the Organ Donation Taskforce’s Study of Attitudes of UK Faith Leaders
Available data of organ donors in the UK highlight significant disparities between different ethnic groups. The Organ Donation Taskforce consequently commissioned the author to gather views on the issue of organ donation from the different leading faith organisations in the UK. This paper focuses on the Muslim community in the UK especially the three main Muslim national organisations there. From the interviews, it is clear that, while the Muslim leaders tend to allow organ donation, diverse views exist between leaders. It was also clear that religion is usually interpreted in many ways by both Muslim leaders and the community. The work in the UK demonstrates that Organ Donation is supported, in principle, by Muslim leaders in the UK. If this support is to become widespread, then a multifaceted communications strategy is essential which promotes debate concerning organ donation within the Muslim community at both national and local level.