Last update 2nd. August 2004

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Medical Ethics: Religious Dogma Overrides Equal Treatment

Front Page: MUSLIM GPS WON'T TREAT SEX DISEASES MAIL ON SUNDAY -- Exclusive -- August 1, 2004

Note that, although the Mail's article targets Muslim doctors, similar concerns apply to extremist adherents of other faiths. According to the Christian Medical Fellowship, there was a related article in the "Times", 17-Feb-2003

MUSLIM doctors in Britain are refusing to treat patients for diseases that develop as a result of sinful behaviour, The Mail on Sunday reveals today.

They believe certain conditions primarily sex diseases and AIDS are punishments from God, and say the Koran forbids them from helping sufferers.

It is a view held by only a small minority of Muslims. But there is mounting evidence that such hardline attitudes are being adopted by increasing numbers of medics, particularly those who are training or recently qualified.

Some Muslim students also refuse to accept the theory of evolution or to study abortion, euthanasia and fertility procedures, while female students have insisted on wearing veils to class, contrary to strict rules.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that leading moderates have been touring the country in a bid to convince medical students that it is consistent with the teachings of Islam for them to treat all patients, irrespective of their lifestyle.

Dr Jafer Qureshi, of the Muslim Council s medical committee, said he had been invited to address all 32 of the country s medical schools and had already visited Warwick, Leicester, Birmingham and King s College, London.

He admitted that the beliefs of ill-informed, conservative doctors were a cause of great concern to moderate Muslims.

Some practising doctors were already refusing to treat patients with sexually transmitted diseases, believing that their religion prevents them from helping patients whose problems stem from promiscuity. The treatment ban can even extend to AIDS patients if the doctor believes they contracted the illness from multiple partners or gay sex.

These militant doctors tend to work in inner-city areas with large ethnic populations, such as London, Leeds and Bradford, where sexually transmitted diseases are most prevalent. They pass sufferers on to other GPs or to specialists.

The hardliners cannot be identified or talk about their actions without risking disciplinary action by the General Medical Council, the profession s ruling body.

But the main concern is that the surge in militancy in medical schools is creating a timebomb for the future. The proportion of doctors from ethnic minorities has trebled over the past two decades more than 30 per cent of British entrants to medical schools now come from minority backgrounds compared with just over four per cent in the population as a whole.

Dr Qureshi estimates that 600 of the 30,000 students in British medical schools, about a tenth of the Muslim intake, believe sexual diseases are a punishment for immorality and intend either to refuse to treat them or only to do so with strong reservations.

We are very concerned about the number of students who are refusing to learn how to treat the diseases, he said.. Some elements have trouble balancing their conscience with the need to treat.

He said opinion was divided among the militants over whether to treat AIDS patients. If they have contracted it from promiscuity or gay sex, there is a different view. . . than through blood transfusions. If it is due to multiple partners, then unfortunately some may choose not to treat them.

The warning comes as Britain faces an epidemic of chlamydia, syphilis and HIV. Figures released last week showed a four per cent rise in sexual infections, including a 28 per cent increase in syphilis.

The situation with Muslim students prompted a senior professor at one of London s leading medical schools to contact The Mail on Sunday with a dossier of complaints.

Everyone knows this is going on but the lecturers are too scared of political correctness to speak out about it, said the academic, who wanted to remain anonymous.

They have a very worrying range of beliefs. It is unclear how doctors with fundamentalist opinions might be able to practise other than within an extremely restricted sector of society.

The professor claims academics have problems marking exams in which students answer based on religious beliefs rather than the syllabus and then complain if they are marked down for it.

The General Medical Council does allow medical schools to tailor exams to religious sensitivities, but sexual diseases have not previously been among subjects such as abortion from which students can opt out. Some academics claim the issue is being fudged to ensure militant students can pass regardless, to avoid confrontation. Tutors at one London medical school have already had stand-offs with female students who insisted on attending classes in full veils, with only a narrow slit for the eyes, in contravention of the strict rule that the whole of a student s or doctor s face must be visible to patients being examined.

Dr Abu Osama, of the Society of Muslim Doctors, refused to condemn medics who would not treat sexual conditions.

Muslim doctors believe the Koran overrides any other law and order, said Dr Osama, who is training to be a GP in Chase Farm, North London. This means some of them placed more emphasis on the Koran s strictures against promiscuity than on its teachings about looking after people, he explained.

Islamic groups have recently stepped up their activism at medical schools. At Guy s Hospital in London, leaflets are being circulated questioning the theory of evolution. The evolution of man is based on extremely subjective interpretation, distortions and forgeries, says one tract produced by the Al-Nasr Trust. In short, the evolution of man is a deception.

Last night, the Council of the Heads of Medical Schools said: As a doctor you must ensure your personal beliefs do not prejudice your patient s care. Medical schools require students to be aware of their responsibility to treat patients regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religious belief.

The General Medical Council added that doctors must not refuse or delay treatment because they believe patients actions have contributed to their condition .


Leader Column: LIBERAL FEARS MUST NOT SILENCE DEBATE ON MILITANT ISLAM

THE growth of militant Islam in Britain is one of the least discussed but most important developments of our era. A politically correct fear of committing Islamophobia has prevented a much-needed debate on this subject for far too long.

Multicultural liberals, especially, are reluctant to criticise Islam because they view it as an ally in their campaign to revolutionise Western culture. They have until now welcomed the growth of the Muslim population of Britain and of Europe as a whole.

They have been slow to understand that large numbers of Muslims are profoundly hostile to the open, sexually liberated lifestyles which liberalism promotes.

If Western Christian fundamentalists, for instance, refused to treat AIDS patients on the grounds that they were paying the just price of sin, there would be a mighty outcry against them from the Left and they would probably be hounded from their posts. And in this case the Left would be right. No civilised society could withhold treatment from a patient on such grounds.

If Christians dared insist that female medical students went about swathed in veils to protect their chastity, they would be mocked without mercy.

Yet it is more than likely that The Mail on Sunday s disclosure today that Muslim doctors and medical students are doing these things will be met by nothing more than an embarrassed silence from liberal quarters. It will be insinuated yet again that those who have raised the alarm have racist motives.

Such a reaction would be wrong, foolish, short-sighted and dangerous. As the Netherlands discovered when the liberal homosexual Pim Fortuyn dared to speak about these very issues, they have the power to convulse society, not least because they have been suppressed for so long.

Fortuyn fanned such passions that he was murdered but he permanently changed the Dutch political landscape and forced social liberals to reconsider many of their most cherished beliefs.

It is vital that we recognise Islam is not a race but a religion which, to its great credit, is entirely free of ethnic prejudice. It is a set of opinions which ought to be open to challenge and criticism like any other and which needs to be better understood by Westerners, in all its aspects.

What is more, Islam's condemnation of the permissive society is actually quite attractive to many who are concerned by the frightening growth of sexually transmitted disease and the breakdown of stable family structures. The defenders of conservative culture and morals ironically often also accused of racism sense that Muslims may be their allies in this battle. They will have mixed feelings about the views of Muslim medical students, especially on abortion.

So let us bring our disagreements into the open, in a reasonable and civilised manner.

If Britain wishes to adopt or encourage Islamic codes and ways, then we have democratic and lawful processes by which we can do so. But they should not be allowed to develop by stealth because we are afraid to challenge them.


John Hunt writes:

This "exclusive" is preceded by earlier articles on the same theme. -- Muslim medics discriminated against over pro-life views Society for the Protection of Unborn Children -- 27 October 2003

Christian Medical Fellowship: Discrimination against Muslims

An article in The Times has reported that British medical schools have started to restrict the number of Muslim students because they refuse to learn about abortion. The proportion of medical students from ethnic minorities in Britain has risen from 10% to 33% over the last 20 years, and the Council of Heads of Medical Schools has expressed concern that tutors are now unable to teach the full syllabus on account of the refusal of Muslim students to participate in certain courses that run counter to their faith. Many Muslims (and Christians) still seek to abide by the principles of the Hippocratic Oath and Declaration of Geneva (1948) which forbid abortion and it appears that this may work against them in 'enlightened' 21st century Britain. (The Times 2003; 17 February:4)

The Hippocratic Oath has been superseded by the Declaration of Geneva, formulated in 1947, and revised in 1968.

Liverpool University have been teaching their undergraduates the following variant since 1995, nearly a decade before DTI guidance (P/2004/187, 12 May 2004 ) promoting a "fairer, more inclusive Britain" .

At the time of being admitted as a Member of my Profession,

I solemnly pledge myself to consecrate my life to the service of humanity:

I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude which is their due;

I will practise my profession with conscience and dignity;

The health of those in my care will be my first consideration;

I will respect the secrets that are confided in me, even after a patient has died;

I will maintain by all the means in my power the honour and the noble traditions of my profession;

My colleagues will be my sisters and brothers;

I will not permit considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient;

I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from its beginnings, even under threat, and I will not use my specialist knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity:

I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour.


It is now time for this Oath to be adopted throughout the profession.



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