TUESDAY, 15 APRIL 2008
It has been many years since I last wore the necklaces with Quranic text, or the Allah, but in the eyes of many of those I work with or treat I am still a Muslim doctor.
And to date I have only been asked whether I am Sunni or Shia by one “charming” Israeli colleague, but the time may come when it becomes part of the “equal opportunities” questions as it has already become at my local general practitioner’s clinic.
If you are a Muslim doctor wanting to practice in the UK and would like to know the “safe” answer to this question “other than refusing to answer it” read on.
Last year the headlines were full of the three stark words Iraqi, Doctor and Terrorist, as the suspects in the Glasgow airport bombing attempt go to trial, the British Journal of Medicine publishes a comment on a study published by the Centre for Islamic Pluralism last month titled the Scientific training and radical Islam. (Made possible through the donations of an anonymous donor).
The link and interest from the BMJ (which is the journal that carries the classified adverts for virtually all medical jobs in the UK) is curious, as to all intents and purposes only about 50% of the content actually relates to medical professional, and despite the title not all of that is related to Islam.
What the 66 page document does provide is a brief synopsis from a team of seven researchers (five of whom are born Muslim) lead by a Californian intent on promoting one or two versions of Islam over others is a profile of a number of medical doctors who became members of a variety of Islamist / Islamic movements active in the Middle East and Pakistan, from the Muslim brotherhood, to Al-Qaida, as well as a couple of Pakistani groups.
The basic goal of the document seems to be to induce fear by highlighting the “risk” from the “widespread” infiltration of radial Islam into the circles of many Arab and “Asian” physicians (according to this report there are 90,000 foreign-born doctors practicing in the UK) and Iranian engineers.
I glossed over the final section covering Muslim Iranian engineers intent on acquiring atomic energy, but I did note that it did at least consist of interviews and opinions sought by an Iranian researcher, a lot of the information on the doctors was gleaned from the press.
The first part of the report, which attempts to explain the reasons why Muslim doctors appear to be overrepresented in the “visible” face of religious organisations, is based on three elements
1. The overarching intertwined link between religion and science in Islam, “For Western doctors, medicine may draw on religious ethics; for Muslim doctors, it draws also on the Islamic view of the universe."
2. For the Egyptian doctors it is the doctrine of the Muslim Brotherhood, which states that the revival of Muslim science will result from the dominance of a fundamentalist view of religion.
3. In the Pakistani medical personnel it is the disparity between medical training in the West and the Muslim world. Reinforced by specific political and other events, including relief projects and recruitment to the anti-Indian jihad in Kashmir.
Western medical education is increasingly centred on technology that is often unavailable in Muslim countries except to the most prosperous elites, as in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Sates”
“Islamist radicalism has mainly developed in ‘third-world’ countries. It is true that fifteen of the nineteen hijackers on September 11, 2001 came from Saudi Arabia, and that functionally and economically; the Saudi kingdom is not considered a poor country. Nor is Iran known for a post-colonial or deeply impoverished status. Still, oil revenue is not the only criterion for deeming a country to have escaped the third world. One must examine the general national outlook and standard of living; to the degree such things are measurable".
This sort of analysis sets the theme for the entire document, with repeated elaborate explanations based on interpretation rather than actual study of individuals, the interpretations will often not fit exactly but no attempt is made to reconcile this contradiction, the document describes several doctors or medical students who became involved in murder rather than healing, they studied in Russia, Germany, and Yugoslavia, but for some reason these are seen to be different “Dr Zborowski was clearly atypical of medical anthropologists; Guevara epitomized neither Argentine nor pre-revolutionary Cuban doctors. But Dr Al-Zawahiri comes to us as the representative of a wide social stratum and a large ideological milieu similar to those of the German concentration camp bureaucrat Dr Mengele or the Yugoslav Communist functionary Dr Karadzic”.
Having started with a historic perspective on murderous doctors I expected the study to try and find the common thread between all these bad doctors possibly in events or conditions these people faced during their youth in whatever country, rather than concentrating all the attention on religion, third worldism or a shortage of Western technology.
An interesting point of view specifically relating to the medical professions “it must not to be forgotten that doctors are typically among the first to see the effects of atrocities inflicted by tyrannical regimes in Muslim countries. The armaments of modern countries are designed to cause maximum injury… and their effects are horrible to behold. When such weaponry is used by a Muslim regime allied to the West, a physician who comes into contact with the victims can only be appalled at the severity of the injuries, the brutality of decapitated bodies, etc. In most humans, the basic reaction will be to hate the perpetrators of such violence, and in a culture where everything may be conveniently blamed on the ‘other’ — real or imagined — this creates a fertile soil for the transformation of a caring physician into a terrorist agent".
The use of weapons by “Tyrannical regimes” and not “Foreign armies” makes one a radical, but I guess they are right, when buildings fall down through actions of others the natural response is to hate the perpetrator, and this clearly can create a fertile soil for the transformation of ordinary people into a blood thirsty warmongering nation!
And the solutions to the “problem” suggested are:
Monitoring radical Islamist groups, and pressuring Muslim governments to stop supporting these groups, encourage moderate Muslims to join the struggle, encourage Sufi inspired psychology, upgrade medical training in Muslim countries by involvement of India, ex-USSR states, Israel, and Singapore, and set up Sufi inspired charitable organisations similar to those in Indonesian to compete with Muslim brotherhood based works.
But what exactly is a moderate Muslim? Well maybe he is one who follows the fatwa given in the second page of this document:
A message sent to Muslims in Western nations, urging them to obey the laws of the countries in which they live.
"Muslims have undertaken to obey the laws of the country of their residence and thus they must be faithful to that undertaking," the statement read.
It condemned all acts of violence and encouraged imams to keep a watchful eye on what's going on inside their mosques.
The fatwa was delivered at a Montreal news conference of prominent Shia Muslims on behalf of Ayatullah Sayyed Ali As-Sistani.
And to those who wonder what the expert of bioethics does all day he is apparently pondering the use of genetic engineering for cosmetic purposes!
A Code of Practice for Muslims in the West, a Shia Muslim manual reflecting the guidance of the moderate Iraqi Ayatollah Ali Sistani, addresses bioethical issues in much greater detail. In a separate chapter titled ‘Medical Issues,’ the volume specifies that organ transplants, even from dogs and pigs, which are considered unclean by Muslims, are permissible, in that the human body will, by ‘rejuvenation’ of the organ, purify it. The same text authorizes the use of insulin even if extracted from swine, as well as ‘genetic engineering’ to make human beings more physically attractive.
Ultimately this document read as yet another piece of pseudo-research from this organisation whose sole motivation seems to be the division and distinction in the mind of all who read it between good Muslim doctors i.e. Arab Shia, Indonesian Sufis, and Indian Barelvi on one hand, and bad Muslim doctors i.e. Sunni Arabs, and Indian Deobandi.
So there is the answer to the “equal opportunity” question.
It is perhaps relevant to note that the author, a Christian who converted to Islam in 1997, apparently strongly supported the invasion of Iraq and was in attendance at the U.S Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the 18th June 2007 debating the Bidden plan for “soft partition of Iraq”. A plan he apposed, primarily because by dividing the country into three parts it would be treating all three groups of Iraqi’s as equal, and therefore would not punish one group sufficiently for the crimes committed against the other two.
POSTED BY 3EERAQIMEDIC AT 20:44 1 COMMENTS
thank you dear 3eeraqimedic to tell us about that sensitive issue who really we did not know about. We have a capacity to talk about sensitive issues in a very nice neutral way that really seems professional I think. Keep up the good job. Thank you. Sami.
23 April 2008 22:21