Mail on Sunday
Muslim doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals contribute significantly and play an instrumental and widely acknowledged role in supporting all sections of our NHS. An increasing number of Muslim students work hard to enter medical and allied healthcare professional courses. They are driven by the motivation to serve and treat those who are ill and suffering.
We were surprised therefore by the front-page headline in the Mail on Sunday (Muslim GPs won't treat sex diseases, 1st August2004) as we are not aware of any Muslim medical practitioners withholding or refusing treatment to anyone suffering from a sexually transmitted illness. A doctor's duty is to treat his/her patients irrespective of how the illness was acquired. Not to do so would be contrary to the ethical teachings of Islam, which requires medical practitioners to deliver humane care to all. We are not allowed to be judgmental - that is the Creator's prerogative.
The statement that the Qur'an 'forbids them from helping sufferers' is completely incorrect and represents a serious misunderstanding of the teachings of Islam. We learn from the Ahadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) that for every illness God has provided a cure thus emphasising the importance of the quest for scientific knowledge and new treatments. There is according to the teachings of Islam therefore no scope for refusing or delaying treatment 'because patients' actions have contributed to their condition'.
Nonetheless, we would be very interested to study the dossier of complaints compiled by the senior anonymous academic to assess whether a problem actually exists and, if so, the extent of it and what can be done to address this issue. We hope that the Mail on Sunday will now furnish this evidence.
Dr Shuja Shafi,
Chair, Health & Medical Committee
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra,
Chair, Mosque & Community Affairs Committee
Muslim Council of Britain