Muslim doctors at odds over amputation
Published on: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
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PETALING JAYA: A group representing Muslim physicians has defied the Health Ministry and Malaysian Medical Association on the hudud issue, saying that its members will amputate limbs "in the most humane manner possible".Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia President Dr Mohammed Fauzi Abdul Rani said syariah law mandates Muslim physicians to perform the surgical procedure as instructed by syariah courts and as such, Muslim physicians must abide by it.

"It will be done in the most humane manner possible, (and it will serve) as a severe lesson for the offender," he said in a statement.

Fauzi said Muslim physicians are subservient to the higher ideals of syariah law to protect the general public.

On the Hippocratic Oath where physicians are expected to "do no harm" (primum non nocere), he said Muslim doctors are not doing any harm to a criminal who has transgressed the boundaries of social justice and has to undergo a punishment prescribed by Islamic law.

"These crimes (theft, fornication, adultery, alcohol consumption and apostasy) which threaten the social and moral order are seen as transgressing the limits set by God Himself and thus have punishments mandated in the Quran.

"Hudud laws ... are divinely ordained and Muslims are in no position to negate them," he said.

Fauzi said Muslims had no difficulty accepting that non-Muslims have different beliefs and live their lives differently from Muslims.

"We respect and celebrate religious plurality... Please show us the same courtesy," he added.

He also said that a conviction under syariah law "is extremely difficult as the benefit of doubt is in favour of the accused".

On Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam's statement that there were no provisions under the Medical Act for such amputations, Fauzi said the act of amputation (of criminals) should not be considered a medical practice.

The Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (Imam) has backed amputation under hudud but without administering anesthetic to inflict pain on criminals.

Imam President Dr Abdul Rahim Mohamad said such a painful procedure was vital so that criminals would repent and refrain from committing crime in the future.

"The moral of hudud is to inflict pain, fear, remorse and repentance as a lesson not to repeat the crime. Similarly, public execution under hudud will also deter others from committing a crime," he said.

Recently, the Kelantan Menteri Besar Ahmad Yakub announced that it would table a Private Member's Bill in the Parliament in June to implement hudud law in the state.

Minister in Prime Minister's Department in charge of Islamic affairs Jamil Khir Baharom said the federal government would not block the move in the interest of faith.

However, many others said the move would run ultra vires to the Federal Constitution which guaranteed equality before the law.

Rahim also said the public need not fear hudud as the burden of proof under Islamic law was high.

"The process of conviction is both labourious and stringent to ensure justice is served," said Rahim.

Abdul Rahim said the Malaysia Medical Association's (MMA) objection was a mere knee- jerk reaction.

"The MMA was trying to usurp the powers of the Health Ministry when it said that doctors and nurses fall under the purview of the federal government and have no need to listen to state orders.

Last week, MMA president Dr NKS Tharmaseelan had said hudud amputation was against medical ethics.

Meanwhile, Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) Director Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa described the proposal by Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Amar that surgeons amputate limbs under syariah law as "outrageous".

He said this is because the act is against medical ethics.

"This suggestion will definitely bring the entire medical profession into disrepute. The medical profession is the noblest profession on earth and to even suggest such a heinous act against another human being in the name of religion is simply callous and nefarious."


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