Reverse assimilation in the guise of “ethics,” with two goals. One is to give them a more palatable excuse when, inevitably, they’re faced with a patient suffering in one of these veins. To refuse to treat them and let them go on suffering is unconscionable; to be unable to treat them — well, how can we ask someone to do what they can’t do? Willful ignorance now obviates the immoral choice later.

The other goal is to extend Islamic law to British society. It’s a variation on a labor strike: by suspending services, they’re warning Brits either to comply with the Koran by not drinking to excess or having sex promiscuously or be prepared to suffer the consequences. That’s not much of a threat at the moment given how small the percentage is of doctors willing to go this route, but in 20 or 50 years, who knows?

A few of them won’t perform exams on women either. Just because.

Some Muslim medical students are refusing to attend lectures or answer exam questions on alcohol-related or sexually transmitted diseases because they claim it offends their religious beliefs.

Some trainee doctors say learning to treat the diseases conflicts with their faith, which states that Muslims should not drink alcohol and rejects sexual promiscuity.

A small number of Muslim medical students have even refused to treat patients of the opposite sex. One male student was prepared to fail his final exams rather than carry out a basic examination of a female patient.

The religious objections by students have been confirmed by the British Medical Association (BMA) and General Medical Council (GMC), which both stressed that they did not approve of such actions.

The article also notes the trend at British supermarkets like Boots and Sainsbury’s to let Muslim cashiers refuse to handle customers’ purchases of alcohol, thus requiring a second employee to be pulled away from whatever he’s doing at the moment and ring it up instead. As David Thompson says, digressing from a wider discussion of who’s to pay for these quirks of religious accommodation and how a doctor with significant gaps in his education can still properly be accredited as a doctor, “I wonder how well a Boots or Sainsbury’s customer might fare if they were to raise ethical objections to aspects of Islamic theology and its practical ramifications, say in terms of apostasy, sexual minorities or the retailing of medical treatments.”

The looming conflict in all this is between professional standards and discrimination law: does the Hippocratic Oath trump a Muslim’s right of conscience or vice versa? For now, judging by the results of that recent case involving a dentist who demanded a female patient wear the hijab, it’s the former. But as Mark Steyn might say, it all comes down to demography. In the future it won’t be as clear cut.

Tags: Islam