Religious Fanaticism and Medicine Mix Poorly

Great Britain is seeing some of the same problems we are having in the United States when the views of the religious right intrude upon medical practice. In recent years religious views have resulted in reduced access to contraception and abortion in the United States. The Times of London reports on similar problems coming from Muslim extremists in the UK, with some going even further than their American counterparts in the religious right.

Some Muslim medical students are refusing to attend lectures or answer exam questions on alcohol-related or sexually transmitted diseases because they claim it offends their religious beliefs.

Some trainee doctors say learning to treat the diseases conflicts with their faith, which states that Muslims should not drink alcohol and rejects sexual promiscuity.

A small number of Muslim medical students have even refused to treat patients of the opposite sex. One male student was prepared to fail his final exams rather than carry out a basic examination of a female patient.

Such views have been criticized by organizations ranging from the British Medical Association to Muslim medical groups:

Both the Muslim Council of Britain and Muslim Doctors and Dentist Association said they were aware of students opting out but did not support them.

Dr Abdul Majid Katme, of the Islamic Medical Association, said: “To learn about alcohol, to learn about sexually transmitted disease, to learn about abortion, it gives us more evidence to campaign against it. There is a difference between learning and practising.

“It is obligatory for Muslim doctors and students to learn about everything. The prophet said, ‘Learn about witchcraft, but don’t practise it’.”

1 Comment

  1. 1
    Steve Savage says:

    Religion and medicine shouldn’t mix, since religion in general is an enemy of scientific discovery. Christians held back medicine for hundreds of years because it was thought that scientific autopsy to discover how the human body worked was an affront to god. Muslims are no better, as the religion is tainted with 11th century values.

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