Campaigning for Organ Donation at Mosques

HEC Forum 28 (3):193-204 (2016)
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Abstract

There is a trend of recruiting faith leaders at mosques to overcome religious barriers to organ donation, and to increase donor registration among Muslims. Commentators have suggested that Muslims are not given enough information about organ donation in religious sermons or lectures delivered at mosques. Corrective actions have been recommended, such as funding campaigns to promote organ donation, and increasing the availability of organ donation information at mosques. These actions are recommended despite published literature expressing safety concerns in living and end-of-life organ donation. Living donors require life-long medical follow-up and treatment for complications that can appear years later. Scientific and medical controversies persist regarding the international guidelines for death determination in end-of-life donation. The medical criteria of death lack validation and can harm donors if surgical procurement is performed without general anesthesia and before biological death. In the moral code of Islam, the prevention of harm holds precedence over beneficence. Moral precepts described in the Quran encourage Muslims to be beneficent, but also to seek knowledge prior to making practical decisions. However, the Quran also contains passages that demand honesty and truthfulness when providing information to those who are seeking knowledge. Currently, information is limited to that which encourages donor registration. Campaigning for organ donation to congregations in mosques should adhere to the moral code of complete, rather than selective, disclosure of information. We recommend as a minimal standard the disclosure of risks, uncertainties, and controversies associated with the organ donation process.

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