Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fears over organ transplant ban

From Religious Intelligence:

By: Roberto Sanchez Guevara.

A decision by the Egyptian Doctors' Union to ban organ transplants between Christians and Muslims has raised fears that it will encourage greater sectarian tension.

"All Egyptian have the same blood, and if the reason for the measure is to prohibit trafficking in organs, we reject it because it can also occur between faithful of the same religion," said a spokesmen for the Coptic Church. The Church thinks the decision of the Union is ‘very grave’ because it may lead to other steps such as "banning blood donations between Christians and Muslims or prevent a doctor to examine a patient of a different religion."

The spokesman expressed fears for what the decision could do in hospitals and for relations between Christians and Muslims. The Coptic Church represents 10 per cent of the population of Egypt.

Under the new instructions from the Union -- almost dominated by the Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood -- organ donation between Christians and Muslims is also banned. Any doctor who violates the rule and allow such operations will be questioned and punished by the Union.

"Everything is to protect poor Muslims from rich Christians: they buy their bodies and vice versa," said the director of the Doctors' Union, Hamdi El Sayed. The ban aims to "prevent any attempt to deceive the sick and steal their organs, especially if it occurs between Christians and Muslims, in this case because it opens the door to a crisis between the two communities” he said.

However, for some leaders of the Muslim institution of al-Azhar, the most prestigious in the Arab world, the new measure will encourage more religious tension.

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