March 09, 2008

What is the Islamic Medical Association of North America?

A look at the goals and affiliations of the Islamic Medical Association of North America via DiscoverTheNetworks:

  • A constituent organization of the Islamic Society of North America
  • Named as one of the Muslim Brotherhood's likeminded organization of "friends"
  • Calls for the closure of Guantanamo Bay detention center
Established by a small number of Muslim physicians in 1967, the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) is a nonprofit organization that aims to provide “a platform for Muslim physicians and students to discuss issues and share ideas relevant to Muslims in North America and around the world”; to enable its members to “enrich their professional knowledge and learn about the theory and practice of Islamic medical ethics”; to “promote a better understanding, appreciation and propagation of Islam”; to “encourage professional interaction between Muslim physicians and other Allied Health Professionals and Physicians”; to “assist in the orientation, adjustment and training of Muslim Physicians and Health Professionals new to North America”; to “promote and facilitate medical education, research, publications and improved health care services throughout the world”; and to “participate in medical relief work and other charitable activities.”

IMANA sends medical supplies and medical personnel to places where they are urgently needed. In recent years, the organization’s medical relief missions have delivered aid to the people of Bosnia, Kosovo, Turkey, Venezuela, the Carolinas, and Chechnya.

IMANA has established an education fund to provide financial assistance to promising Muslim students who aspire to enter the medical profession.

A constituent organization of the Islamic Society of North America, IMANA holds annual week-long conferences for Muslim physicians. Every alternate year, these events are held in venues outside of North America, in countries with considerable Muslim populations or heritages. Between 1991 and 2007, these foreign venues included China, South Africa, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia, Turkey, and Spain.
IMANA publishes the quarterly Journal of Islamic Medical Association (JIMA), as well as a bimonthly newsletter which updates its readers on IMANA’s activities and campaigns.

IMANA publishes the quarterly Journal of Islamic Medical Association (JIMA), as well as a bimonthly newsletter which updates its readers on IMANA’s activities and campaigns.IMANA's Medical Ethics Committee “aims to provid[e] ethical guidelines in patient care from an Islamic perspective.” In November 2007, this Committee addressed not only the question of whether hunger-striking detainees in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay ought to be force-fed by authorities, but also the larger issue of how the detainees were being treated. Declared the Committee:

We choose to follow the World Medical Association’s Declaration on Hunger Strikers that unambiguously states that forced feeding is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment….

[W]e especially wish to … ask that the United States: hold abusers of detainees accountable; prohibit abusive interrogations; and close Guantanamo Bay without delay. We also ask, along with others, the US Government to follow the ruling of the US Supreme court that these detainees are subject to the Geneva Conventions. We also ask that these detainees get a fair trial. They should be charged and punished if guilty and freed if they are innocent. We have serious concerns about the moral standing of the United States

At the same time, we believe that suicide to avoid suffering is clearly unlawful in Islam. Given the gravity of suicide in the Islamic tradition, we do not understand how a Muslim detainee would proceed with a hunger strike to the point of death except as a form of protest and for the purpose of drawing attention to his grievances. In these circumstances, those grievances must be addressed. Such people should be given full access to medical care, pastoral care, and mental health services to best assess the intention of their actions and to counsel them on the grave consequences of suicide in Islam….

The Islamic Medical Association officially adopted the “Oath of a Muslim Physician” in 1977. This document reads as follows:
Praise be to Allah (God), the Teacher, the Unique, Majesty of the heavens, the exalted, the glorious, Glory be to Him, the Eternal Being who created the Universe and all the creatures within, and the only Being who containeth the infinity and the eternity. We serve no other God besides thee and regard idolatry as an abominable injustice.

Give us the strength to be truthful, honest, modest, merciful and objective.

Give us the fortitude to admit our mistakes, to amend our ways and to forgive the wrongs of others.

Give us the wisdom to comfort and counsel all towards peace and harmony.

Give us the understanding that ours is a profession sacred that deals with your most precious gifts of life and intellect.

Therefore, make us worthy of this favored station with honor, dignity and piety so that we may devote our lives in serving mankind, poor or rich, wise or illiterate, Muslim or non-Muslim, black or white, with patience and tolerance with virtue and reverence, with knowledge and vigilance, with thy love in our hearts and compassion for thy servants, thy most precious creation.

Hereby we take this oath in thy name, the Creator of all the Heavens and the earth and follow thy counsel as thou have revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

"Whoever killeth a human being, not in lieu of another human being nor because of mischief on earth, as if he hath killed all mankind. And if he saveth a human life, he hath saved the life of all mankind." (Qur'an 5:32)

As political columnist Debbie Schlussel observes: “Compared to the other Oaths and Declarations, the Oath of a Muslim Physician appears to be unique in its possibly more conditional nature. The phrase, ‘not in lieu of another human being nor because of mischief on earth,’ suggests, licenses, allows or can certainly be interpreted or misinterpreted as to give understanding to a physician taking this Oath and who ‘killeth a human being,’ that the killing is okay as long as it is ‘in lieu of another human being’ or ‘because of mischief on earth.’” Schlussel speculates that in the mind of a Muslim doctor inclined toward jihad, so-called “mischief” may constitute nothing more sinister than a particular patient’s status as a non-Muslim.

Schlussel also has enumerated some high-ranking Muslim doctors who have been involved in terrorist plots. These include:

  • Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri, a surgeon and/or psychiatrist who serves as al Qaeda’s second-in-command
  • Dr. Mohammad Rabi Al-Zawahiri, a pharmacologist and medical professor with a strong allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood
  • Dr. "Abu Hafiza," a psychiatrist who headed the Moroccan cell that helped plan the 9/11 attacks
  • Dr. Abdel Aziz Al-Rantisi, a pediatrician who was a high-level Hamas official until his assassination in April 2004
  • Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a surgeon and medical lecturer who co-founded Hamas
  • Dr. Fathi Abd Al-Aziz Shiqaqi, a physician who helped establish Islamic Jihad and was active in the Fatah organization
  • Dr. George Habash, a pediatrician who founded the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
  • Dr. Wadih Haddad, a physician who was the PFLP’s second-in-command
  • Dr. Bashar Assad, an ophthalmologist who has served as President of Syria since 2000
  • Dr. Rafiq Sabir, a Florida-based emergency room physician with ties to al Qaeda
  • Drs. Laila Al-Marayati and Riad Abdelkarim, both Hamas fundraisers and affiliates of KinderUSA (an outgrowth of the terrorism-tied Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development)
  • Dr. Yahyah Basha, a Syrian-born, Detroit-based physician with a history of support for terrorist groups
  • Dr. Mohammed Jamil Abdelqader Asha, a Saudi-born neurologist who was arrested as a suspect in the attempted London bombings of June 2007
  • Dr. Bilal Talal Abdul Samad Abdulla, an Iraqi suspected of taking part in the attempted Glasgow International Airport bombing in June 2007
  • Dr. Mohammed Haneef, an Indian Muslim suspected of involvement in the attempted London bombings of June 2007
IMANA is a member of the Federation of Islamic Medical Associations (FIMA), which seeks "to foster the unity and welfare of Muslim medical professionals all over the world." A fellow FIMA member is the Islamic Medical Association’s United Kingdom branch. In 2006, Dr. Abdul Majid Katme, a psychiatrist who heads the UK branch, announced that it was “against Islam” for Muslim parents to have their children vaccinated. He explained that many vaccines contain “haram” or “parts” of animals that are not slaughtered ritualistically in a manner consistent with Muslim requirements. (According to journalist Susan MacAllen, these “parts” are generally either pieces of cells, or proteins removed from cells, which are subsequently incubated in a laboratory.)

Dr. Katme also said that vaccines contain alcohol, which strictly observant Muslims are forbidden to consume; that inoculation is unnecessary for Muslim children because mothers adhering to Islamic Law nurse them until age two, giving the youngsters “natural immunity” in the process; and that “[i]f you breastfeed your child for two years -- as the Koran says -- and you eat Koranic food like olives and black seed, and you do ablution [ritual washing] each time you pray, then you will have a strong defence system.”Susan MacAllen addresses Dr. Katme’s assertions as follows:
The biggest problem is that this reluctance to vaccinate poses a health risk outside the Muslim community. There are children who aren’t vaccinated because of pre-existing medical conditions, say a heart issue, HIV or cancer- - these children would be at greater risk of infection from another unvaccinated child who is a carrier. Also at risk are children so young that they haven’t received a particular vaccine, or who haven’t yet received adequate boosters. The elderly are also at risk, as is anyone with a severely compromised immune system, such as those undergoing cancer treatments or suffering from AIDS. Once these people begin to contract a disease in numbers, it spreads. The ‘herd immunity’ requirement is violated; if a large enough minority carries the disease, an epidemic can begin. And, if the disease begins to mutate into forms not covered under the vaccines that have already been given, everyone is in danger.

The science is complicated: suffice it to say that the reluctance of a minority within the general population to inoculate can endanger everyone, and in fact can result in an epidemic. In India, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent years, large outbreaks have been seen as a direct result of the refusal of local populations to be inoculated. In Nigeria in 2004, a mass protest against polio vaccination was led by Muslims who railed that the vaccines were part of a U.S. plot to render Muslims sterile. Despite the assurances of the World Health Organization, the protest continued for months, and several children came down with polio. Some months later, as a direct result of this single Nigerian state’s refusal to vaccinate, a polio resurgence was seen across 10 nations, all of whom were previously polio-free!
In February 2008 it was reported that Muslim medical students in Britain were refusing, on religious grounds, to obey commonly accepted hygiene rules aimed at preventing the spread of disease. Sheffield University, for instance, reported a case of a Muslim medic who refused to “scrub” because she did not wish to violate the religious injunction against exposing her forearms. Similarly, documents from Birmingham University indicated that some Muslim students would sooner drop out of the medical program than expose their forearms. “No practising Muslim woman -- doctor, medical student, nurse or patient -- should be forced to bare her arms below the elbow,” said the Islamic Medical Association. The aforementioned Dr. Katme stated: “Exposed arms can pick up germs and there is a lot of evidence to suggest skin is safer to the patient if covered. One idea might be to produce long, sterile, disposable gloves which go up to the elbows.”

IMANA was named in a May 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document --titled "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America" -- as one of the Brotherhood's likeminded "organizations of our friends" who shared the common goal of destroying America and turning it into a Muslim nation. These "friends" -- which included also the Islamic Circle of North America, Muslim Youth of North America, the Muslim Students Association, the Muslim Arab Youth Association, the Islamic Association for Palestine, the United Association for Studies and Research, and the International Institute of Islamic Thought -- were identified by the Brotherhood as groups that could help teach Muslims "that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands ... so that ... God's religion [Islam] is made victorious over all other religions."
Click here to read the full article on the Islamic Medical Association of North America.