Some British Muslim med students refusing lessons on alcohol, STDs

posted at 12:56 pm on October 7, 2007 by Allahpundit

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.


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Don’t let them get that degree. They should not become physicians…

d1carter on October 7, 2007 at 1:04 PM

So, when ‘Desperate Housewives’ makes a joke about a muslim doctor’s license in a future episode, there shouldn’t be any outrage.

Right? Right?

Timothy S. Carlson on October 7, 2007 at 1:04 PM

In a perfect world, this is how it works.

1. If you hate cigarette smoke, you don’t work as a barback or as a bartender.

2. If you refuse to handle merchandise, such as pork or beer, you don’t work at a retailer that stocks these items.

3. If your religion precludes you from seeing nekkid people or treating alcohol related conditions, you don’t practice medicine.

4. If your religion precludes you from celebrating birthdays, you don’t work at a restaurant that requires you to sing and clap for customers who do.

Jobs have requirements. If you cannot fulfill those requirements due to a conflict with your own beliefs or conscience, you get a DIFFERENT JOB.

The world isn’t Burger King…you don’t get it your way.

Asher on October 7, 2007 at 1:09 PM

And if a fundamentalist Christian did not want to learn about immoral STDs and alcohol related problems, that person would rightfully be expelled. Why the double standard? I would be really scared to work with a doctor (I’m going to be a nurse) who refuses what he deems immoral patients.

mram on October 7, 2007 at 1:12 PM

Throw their sorry ass’s out of the school. Don’t take like the agenda, get the hell out. Who is running that zoo?

Wade on October 7, 2007 at 1:16 PM

I just read a bit of this story in a comment thread in the WaPo… I was bringing up this dilemma to my husband; in a possible future scenario, what happens when the population is mostly muslim and all docs refuse to treat women, he came back, well women doctors will treat other women, but no, in a muslim society women are not allowed to be educated. Or is that only fanatical muslims? My head spins from this religion, it just makes no sense at all, maybe it did 2000 years ago, but in this age, I don’t get it.

4shoes on October 7, 2007 at 1:23 PM

I was going to post a link to an article by a Muslim doctor in the Albany, NY area, but it has been pulled from the med.yale site. (is this a positive sign?)

Kobeisy tries to explain why medical institutions must understand Muslim culture in order to understand shame. Seems to me that shame or discomfort in undressing or in the context of various medical examinations, especially for women, but also men, is universal. If Muslim shame is worthy of special notice and accomodation, then the fault lies with Islam.

At any rate, here is a bit from the article in my files:

The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine

“Shame in the Context of Illness: An Islamic Perspective”

Ahmed Nezar Kobeisy, Ph.D.
akobeisy@syr.edu

In the beginning, I would like to acknowledge the complexity and the limitations that surround this topic.The complexity arises from the intersection of the many Muslim cultures represented in the American Muslim community and the Islamic religion in ways that make religion and culture confused and defused with each other in determining the type and level of shame in the context of illness.

snip

Generally, it can be stated that the main influences on Muslims’ views of illness and treatment include religion, cultures, and individual preferences. American Muslims, like all other groups, can be described in terms of universal, group specific and individual values and attitudes towards illnesses.

Because shame is equated with dishonor, disgrace and something that brings regret, censure or reproach, Shame is often associated with conscientious of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety. It, therefore, leads to the assessment that the current situation affects negatively one’s identity

Religious and cultural factors that may cause shame in illness:

1. The way patients and their families view illness: While some Muslims view illness as a test from God to examine their submission to His well and, at the same time, as an opportunity to seek rewards and expiations for their sins, other Muslims view illness as a punishment from God for their past wrong doing. Individuals from the latter group are likely to feel ashamed of their illness which is, in their own minds, indicative of their sinfulness.

2. Illness as a cause of dependency: when illness causes patients to be dependent on others for usual daily needs and basic necessities, particularly for an extended period of time, the patient is likely to feel ashamed and less dignified.

3. The type of illness: while internal illness may not cause shame, social and visual illnesses may bring a great deal of embarrassment and shame to the patient particularly those linked to life-style practices such as sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, and sexual dysfunctions.

4. Mental illnesses have been always seen across many Muslim cultures with stigma and shame associated with them.

5. Terminal illnesses: for both religious and cultural reasons, most Muslims would not want to communicate the diagnosis of terminal illness to their loved ones. They would feel ashamed to inform the patient with such bad news. In such cases, shame is considered one of the feelings and emotions that the patient and his/her family members develop as a defense mechanism. The sequence of reaction ranges from uneasiness, a need for reassurance, denial and minimizing, anger and blame, guilt and shame, confusion and finally the acceptance of reality. Patients themselves feel ashamed for being inflicted with such diseases.

6. Illnesses that result from the violation of religious values or cultural norms can also produce shame. Alcoholism and out of wedlock pregnancy are but a few examples.

7. Uncovering one’s body: The Islamic religion commands modesty and specifies general criteria for what men and women can wear in public as a manifestation of modesty and respect in public. Men and women, for instance, are discouraged or even prohibited from uncovering their bodies, to various degrees, in the presence of related or unrelated members of the opposite sex. Spouses are exempted. In illness, many Muslim individuals reported feeling ashamed for being forced to uncover, sometimes, unnecessarily or longer than it is necessary. The complaints included the way the instructions are given (e.g. commanding and humiliating tone), lack of explanation as to why it is necessary to uncover, and the lack of accommodation for Muslim patients.

8. Discrimination: Stereotyping Islam and Muslims is commonplace particularly in media, workplace, schools, etc. Such negative images and stereotypes have paved the way for institutional discrimination which has been cited as one of the forms of societal shaming practices. Whether discrimination is real or perceived, Muslim patients may translate such discrimination into being labeled as being defective, deficient and unworthy, all of which are shaming messages.

9. Illnesses that are related to intimacy and infertility. Both Islam and most Muslim cultures value and respect the confidentiality of private life. Shame is likely to be prevalent if the Muslim patient is forced to uncover details of intimate and private life that may expose one’s own self or other related ones let alone faulting one’s self or relatives. The feeling of shame could be intensified for having exposed one’s own weaknesses and for violating the confidence of loved and respected ones. Illnesses related to sexual inadequacy, impotence, and infertility for both men and women are considered shameful in most Muslim cultures and looked at as signs of defectiveness and deficiency in one’s manhood and womanhood.

10. Excessive demand for personal information that may reveal weakness or inadequacy (e.g. unemployment for males, not having children for both men and women particularly of married women, poverty, lack of family support, or lack of adherence to religious or cultural norms) may produce shame in Muslim patients that takes roots in either religion, culture or both. Recent immigration, refugee status, low income and less education could intensify such feeling.

11. Lack of friends and family presence on the bedside could be shameful especially for families who have been accustomed to living with their large extended families. Muslims value close family ties among members of the extended family which in turn serve as strong social support system. In most Muslim cultures, patients are always surrounded by relatives for support and service. Furthermore, individuals are accustomed to bragging about the strength of the support they receive from their families. In the United States, most Muslims, whether immigrants or converts, lack the existence of family support systems for many obvious reasons including immigration policies, economical reasons, and religious differences as in the case of converts.

12. The cultural pressure which focuses on image and appearance could be the source of shame for the patients who do not fit this image. Failure to have the perfect body image or to display the correct public etiquette is likely to cause embarrassment and shame. This includes issues like overweight, disability, dependence on others for basic needs among other things. Fear of not adhering to the rules of the medical personnel or institutions is likely to cause shame as well.

13. Gender interaction is a highly sensitive concern among Muslims that may produce shame if not observed correctly. To explain, male’s affection and attention to female patients often cause shame and possibly concern for the female and her family to a higher degree more than that of the female medical staff showing the same with the male Muslim patient, although both situations could produce shame to the patient. Direct touching and affectionate expressions should, therefore, be avoided. Direct eye contact may be seen as threatening and/or expressive of sexual feelings or interest.

14. Invasive and intrusive medical procedures particularly those that relate to the examination of the patient’s private parts could be seen by Muslim patients as shameful. For men, it may be seen as humiliating and ill-driven especially when it is not well explained and/or un-necessitated medically. For women, if vaginal examination or delivery done by a male without medical emergency, it may cause shame to the patient and family. It would be helpful if the medical personnel inform the patient of the procedure, the purpose and the gender of available staff for such procedure and allow the patient to freely express his/her preferences not only as to what can be done but also as to who should they feel comfortable with doing it.

15. The tendency in the medical field culture that assigns responsibility and blame to the patient as explanatory for the cause of illness. According to this model, the patient is responsible for the onset, and outcome of the medical condition Finerman and Bennett, 1995). According to Finerman and Bennet (1995):

Connie on October 7, 2007 at 1:31 PM

The sad thing is that in places like the U.K., the number of available admissions of med students is a lot lower than it is here. I’m sure there’s plenty of willing and able individuals who would love to have the training, but who get rejected from med school in favor of someone who refuses to be trained.

Big S on October 7, 2007 at 1:31 PM

Kick these neanderthals out of the med school. Simple. You don’t got to school and set the agenda. You go to school to learn. If they do not wish to learn send them home.

Zelsdorf Ragshaft on October 7, 2007 at 1:32 PM

Zelsdorf Ragshaft on October 7, 2007 at 1:32 PM

100% agreement. Kids of college age have no clue about the preparation needed to see them through life. The USA gave in to students in the 60′s and 70′s and look at what we have now. You hire a kid out of college it takes 6 months to teach them where the restrooms are and which one is used by which sex and then you are likely to called a homophobe.

Wade on October 7, 2007 at 1:42 PM

Reading the comments section at the site gives one hope that the Brits may be able to save their country after all.

Connie on October 7, 2007 at 1:49 PM

It’s the same thing as the pharmacists in this country who refuse to dispense birth control to women because it’s against their religion: If you can’t or won’t fulfill the obligations of your profession, then choose a different profession.

CookeyD on October 7, 2007 at 1:55 PM

How would they feel if the English Police refused sensitivity training for Islamophobia because it offends their religious beliefs?

Imagine for a second Christian Docs refusing to treat homosexuals for STD’s because it’s “immoral” behavior that lead to the problem. Muslims? It’s ok, it’s their culture. Y’know what? Their culture sucks.

trubble on October 7, 2007 at 1:58 PM

Talk about creeping Sharia.

Let’s not forget how many terrorists are Doctors. I do not trust these people for one moment, and anyone who adopts this radical a position needs to be watched very carefully. Obviously they should be denied medical degrees and any excuse to deport them should be utilized. These people have no desire to assimilate into our culture but intend to transform it into their own hideous vision, and it is insanity to permit this to go on.

It’s also important to remember that this is not just a problem in the U.K. According to Debbie Schlussel and a refusal to treat Christian and Jewish patients is occurring right in Dearbornistan.

Connie on October 7, 2007 at 1:31 PM

I yi yi. Thanks for that link. If they want to live in our culture it is up to them to adapt to it, not the other way around – particularly since their views are so 5th Century. Number 8 is particularly ridiculous. It’s not because we “stereotype” them that they feel “shame”, it’s their own culture and religion that imposes this oppressive world view on them themselves.

Buy Danish on October 7, 2007 at 2:01 PM

The Muslims should be free to treat or serve whomever they want, and the schools and stores should be free to throw their butts on the street.

pedestrian on October 7, 2007 at 2:03 PM

There’s an easy answer to the grocery checker problem. When I have booze in the cart, I know not to choose a clerk who looks under age. Our local laws require that someone 21 or older come over and “check out” the alcohol… but that can cause a delay for me of up to 3 minutes.

Just make the Muslims wear a large “M” tag and they can be avoided altogether by shoppers with pork and alcohol products. Queue in other lines and let the Muslim employees stand there doing nothing. I’d let the management understand fully just how expensive it is to hire people who won’t perform the necessary tasks.

As far as Muslim doctors, the instant anyone in the U.S. suggests we ought to revise standards, Hill-Rod ought to be leading the pitchfork riot.

T J Green on October 7, 2007 at 2:10 PM

This is kinda like hiring a bartender who is morally opposed to dispensing alcohol. In other words, it would be stupid to give these people medical degrees and even stupider for people to choose them as their physicians. The danger, of course, is in these people being hired in ERs. If you’re an unconscious woman with alcohol in your bloodstream and you’re brought to an ER staffed by Muslim docs, you’re SOL.

aero on October 7, 2007 at 2:11 PM

Don’t let them get that degree. They should not become physicians…

d1carter on October 7, 2007 at 1:04 PM

That’s right. Healing is so kafir.
Muslims should be nuclear physicists instead.

thuja on October 7, 2007 at 2:15 PM

Either do it, or attend some school with Islamic ties. Just one more reason why I make inquiries about a Dr. that has been assigned to me at a teaching hospital. If they can refuse me, I can refuse them.

jeanie on October 7, 2007 at 2:19 PM

Buy Danish said on October 7, 2007 at 2:01 PM

“These people have no desire to assimilate into our culture but intend to transform it into their own hideous vision, and it is insanity to permit this to go on.”

You are absolutely right! Bending to their every demand is not assimilation! This is OUR COUNTRY. You will bend to OUR LAWS, or you are free to leave. One or the other; take your pick.

leepro on October 7, 2007 at 2:27 PM

Creeping Sharia run a muck.
at least England is acknowledging it now, America doesn’t even see it.
But that’s OK because we need to respect islam, we need to be Politically Correct! and besides we have better things worry about like Britney, Lohan and now Pamela Anderson is getting hitched again, boy I’m looking forward to the never ending news on that.

abinitioadinfinitum on October 7, 2007 at 2:28 PM

Just make the Muslims wear a large “M” tag and they can be avoided altogether…

T J Green on October 7, 2007 at 2:10 PM

Can’t do that. Too close to what the Nazis made the Jews do: wearing an armband (or some such label) identifying them as Jews. We wouldn’t want to equate ourselves with Nazis.

/perhaps you forgot the “/sarc” tag?

leepro on October 7, 2007 at 2:33 PM

leepro on October 7, 2007 at 2:33 PM

Did he really need a sarc tag? This is Hot Air, after all.

Connie on October 7, 2007 at 2:37 PM

Simple solution I will stop treating Camel Toe

400lb Gorilla on October 7, 2007 at 2:37 PM

Talk about creeping Sharia.

creeping galloping

Creeping Sharia run a muck.

creeping galloping

I’m getting tired making this correction all the time. (:-)

fred5678 on October 7, 2007 at 2:40 PM

fred5678 on October 7, 2007 at 2:40 PM

My Bad.
Nice display at your site. :)

abinitioadinfinitum on October 7, 2007 at 2:56 PM

Doctors of Islamic Morality should restrict their practice to the Mosques and away from the general public where alcohol, STDs and women creep, run and gallop a muck in a world I would gladly live in.

So now when I go to the Doctor, I’ll ask his or hers religious background before summiting my Hillary Health Care Card.

Kini on October 7, 2007 at 2:59 PM

Let them move to Mecca and treat the abstainers there.

Lots of cases of ingrown imbecility that need lancing.

And painful Mohammad’s Knee.

From bowing two more times a day that the Koran itself recommends.

Funny how they never noticed that themselves, being all serious about their Koran, and all.

(Three times required a day in The Book, 5 times in the non-doctrinal Hadiths. Sounds like we’ve got 1.2 billion accidental apostates.)

Maybe their doctoral-level Islamic “scholars” are about as good as their medical students.

Wearing, not mortarboards, but asshats.

profitsbeard on October 7, 2007 at 3:00 PM

I am a fourth year medical student here in the good old USA. I also am a Christian. Over the last 3+ years, I have learned about all kinds of things that I myself would never partake in, due to my beliefs. However, I know that I need to learn how to treat all people with disease, regardless of if I agree with their lifestyle decisions or not. It is part of the honor of becoming a physician to learn how to help everyone suffering from disease, so that I might “do no harm”. Those students who think they can magically wish away the things they don’t agree with (alcoholism, drug abuse, etc.), and so reason they do not need to learn about the disease mechanism or treatment of the disease, do not deserve the degree. They should be expelled immediately to make room for those who actually deserve to become doctors. Period. As for refusing to treat women, it is despicable that is being allowed. These people need to realize that they are receiving an education in the West. This includes privileges they can not receive from their own countries. If they don’t like the way we do things here, they can GO HOME.

Trtle2001 on October 7, 2007 at 3:29 PM

Did he really need a sarc tag? This is Hot Air, after all.

Connie on October 7, 2007 at 2:37 PM

OK. No sarc tag. Nazi tactics still not a good idea.

leepro on October 7, 2007 at 3:45 PM

“Those who heal you will kill you”

VinceP1974 on October 7, 2007 at 3:56 PM

thuja on October 7, 2007 at 2:15 PM

Nope, if they can’t or won’t complete the curriculum no one should be able to get a degree. That should apply to everyone in every field, no matter their religious beliefs.

d1carter on October 7, 2007 at 3:56 PM

Just make the Muslims wear a large “M” tag and they can be avoided altogether…

T J Green on October 7, 2007 at 2:10 PM

I have no problem with Muslim doctors who refuse to do certain things, as long as there is no socialized medicine and I am not forced to go to one. But in England there is little other choice, and we are heading in that direction here. Where medicine is socialized and no longer financially lucrative, more and more of the doctors are imported from just about anywhere.

JiangxiDad on October 7, 2007 at 4:10 PM

“more and more Doctors are imported from just about any where..” Good point. Never thought about that before, but now that it comes up I recall relatives in England voicing just that complaint. They have no choice of doctors, especially specialists.

jeanie on October 7, 2007 at 4:33 PM

I understand after they graduate from medical school, they immediately seek out an airport to crash into and be set aboot on.

Kini on October 7, 2007 at 4:39 PM

I am a Physician Assitant student who has worked in healthcare for 9 years. I have been to Iraq twice. These people have no place in healthcare. a. learning about things like alcohol is necessary part of medicine and how your body works. b. when you become a healthcare provider you have an obligation to treat everyone (except maybe routine care of ambulance chasing malpractice lawyers) regardless of your opinion on their lifestyle. It is the reason we provide daily medical care to their detainees and treat their wounded.

Oh, the things I have seen and heard working in an emergency room…

Why do extremist muslims need to become doctors anyway? Just tell the sick people to read the Koran more…

BadBrad on October 7, 2007 at 4:53 PM

This is what we can expect in the US if Hilary gets to change our healthcare system. Foreign-born, potential jihadi doctors that are insufficiently trained to save lives and secretly wish to end lives. Look at what has begun in the UK.

ej_pez on October 7, 2007 at 6:29 PM

Reminds me of student pilots who refuse to learn how to take of or land . . .

- The Cat

MirCat on October 7, 2007 at 7:57 PM

don’t follow the lesson plan, don’t become a doctor.

better yet, don’t ask for assistance from someone who has been taught such vile knowledge, has a dog, eats pork, drinks, smokes, etc.

madmonkphotog on October 7, 2007 at 8:29 PM

The problem here is that these people are NOT civilized. It’s like apples and parsley. There never will be any meeting of the minds. The sooner the world realizes this, the better.

bloggless on October 7, 2007 at 9:58 PM

Do these assholes use isopropyl alcohol to swab the skin before they puncture it????? If not, they should not become doctors. How does someone like that even get into med school?????????????

bloggless on October 7, 2007 at 10:00 PM

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.

They would love to extend Islamic law to British society – and the rest of the world. Curious how many Muslims don’t follow their own religious “virtues” and, both drink and have sex, to excess. Glass houses, and all that to them!

thedecider on October 7, 2007 at 10:43 PM

thuja on October 7, 2007 at 2:15 PM

Nope, if they can’t or won’t complete the curriculum no one should be able to get a degree. That should apply to everyone in every field, no matter their religious beliefs.

d1carter on October 7, 2007 at 3:56 PM

Wow, Nellie!! Someone didn’t get my little joke. (Think gallows humour.)

There seems to be a lot of humour impairment on this thread.

thuja on October 7, 2007 at 10:48 PM

Do these assholes use isopropyl alcohol to swab the skin before they puncture it????? If not, they should not become doctors. How does someone like that even get into med school?????????????

There are two sisters – Isopropyl and Ethanol – Ethanol is the good sister (at least to us :P) and Isopropyl is the bad sister – take a sip of Isopropyl and you can go blind and say bye-bye to your liver. I’m sure muslims approve of Isopropyl, since it is used mainly for for hygienics and not entertainment.

Timothy S. Carlson on October 7, 2007 at 10:57 PM

Timothy-

Don’t be so sure.

Lancer on October 8, 2007 at 12:37 AM

See, this is really no big deal. They don’t need to listen to lectures on treating alcohol-related illnesses or STDs…the prescription for these ailments is always the same:

Stoning.

(Note for the humor-impaired on this thread…IT’S A JOKE, and you made me ruin it by explaining it)

James on October 8, 2007 at 10:12 AM

BadBrad on October 7, 2007 at 4:53 PM

Are you saying that they won’t use alcohol to sterilize equipment and wounds?

James on October 8, 2007 at 10:12 AM

Excellent point about the stoning cure.

Buy Danish on October 8, 2007 at 12:18 PM

That is easy just expel the barbarians.
Done!

TheSitRep on October 8, 2007 at 1:44 PM

Call me a bigot but I would never go to anyone that looked or had a muslim name. Sorry, it’s just not going to happen. What about the oath that doctors take? Never mind expel them!!!!!!!!!

ChrisIansNana on October 8, 2007 at 2:34 PM