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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Egypt bans cross-religious organ donation

From Egypt's Daily News, August 18:
Head of the Doctors’ Syndicate Hamdy El Sayed refuted claims made by human rights activists that the proposed organ transplant law discriminates between Muslims and Christians.

The draft law that would regulate organ donations and transplants limits the practice to family members and bans it between people of different religions or different nationalities. This would restrict trade in human organs, the syndicate had said in previous statements.

Without any regulation, Egypt has struggled with the problem of organ trafficking for years. Poverty and desperation have led many to be manipulated into selling their organs with little knowledge of the consequences.

“It’s a racist law that calls for discrimination and it discriminates between the Coptic Christians and the Muslim donors and made it less likely for sick patients to get their organ transplants,” Naguib Gabriel, head of the Egyptian Human Rights Union, told Daily News Egypt.

Gabriel added that they filed a suit against the Doctor’s syndicate.

On his part El Sayed denied any sectarianism in the law saying that “if some Copts are angered by the law then why is it that Muslims aren’t.”

El Sayed added that under the draft law, it’s not possible for a Copt to donate organs to a Muslim and vice versa simply because donations have been restricted to family members up to the fourth degree.

“For starters, it is degrading for both religions if lets say, a poor Christian has to sell his kidney to a rich Muslim, or a poor Muslim has to sell his kidney to a rich Christian. It is not right for either religions and that is why we made this law so we can stop organ trafficking.”

And if the minority Copts now can no longer use 90% of the organs on the market, well, it is to protect them from being "degraded."

It is amazing that a head of a doctor's union can think that these arguments "refute" the fact that he is supporting a purely bigoted law.