Religio-ethical discussions on organ donation among Muslims in Europe: An example of transnational Islamic bioethics

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This article analyzes the religio-ethical discussions of Muslim religious scholars, which took place in Europe specifically in the UK and the Netherlands, on organ donation. After introductory notes on fatwas (Islamic religious guidelines) relevant to biomedical ethics and the socio-political context in which discussions on organ donation took place, the article studies three specific fatwas issued in Europe whose analysis has escaped the attention of modern academic researchers. In 2000 the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) issued a fatwa on organ donation. Besides this "European" fatwa, two other fatwas were issued respectively in the UK by the Muslim Law (Shariah) Council in 1995 and in the Netherlands by the Moroccan religious scholar Mus{dot below}t{dot below}afā Ben H{dot below}amza during a conference on "Islam and Organ Donation" held in March 2006. The three fatwas show that a great number of Muslim religious scholars permit organ donation and this holds true for donating organs to non-Muslims as well. Further, they demonstrate that transnationalism is one of the main characteristics of contemporary Islamic bioethics. In a bid to develop their own standpoints towards organ donation, Muslims living in the West rely heavily on fatwas imported from the Muslim world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-220
Number of pages14
JournalMedicine, Health Care and Philosophy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • Fatwas
  • Interplay of Islam and the West
  • Islam
  • Islamic bioethics
  • Muslims in Europe
  • Organ donation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Education
  • Health(social science)

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