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21 Aug, 2008 10:43

Egypt transplant ban sparks discrimination row

Egypt transplant ban sparks discrimination row

Human rights activists and the country’s Christian minority have accused the Egyptian Medical Association of discrimination following its new regulation banning organ transplantation between Muslims and Christians. The head of the association argues it’s

The law limits organ donations to members of the same family and bans the practice altogether for people of different religions or nationalities.

Hamdy El Sayed, head of the professional union argues that the measure is to protect poor people from being deceived and exploited by rich customers.

“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.” El Sayed said. “It is not right for either religions and that is why we made this law so we can stop organ trafficking.”

But members of the Coptic Church – the Christian minority who constitute some 10% of Egypt’s 75 million population – fear the regulation will lead to more sectarian tension in the country, reports the Religious Intelligence website.

Speaking for the Coptic community, Bishop Marcos said: “We all have the same Egyptian blood, but if the reason for the measure is to end organ trafficking, we reject it because it may also occur between believers of the same religion.”

The clergyman continued saying: “We are afraid that in future there will be hospitals for Christians and hospitals for Muslims,”

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

Meanwhile the Egyptian Human Rights Union said the measure was ‘a racist law that calls for discrimination’ and announced they have filed a suit against the association.

Sheikh Gamal Kotb the former Chairman of the Fatwa Committee said that there is nothing in Islam that prevents Muslims from receiving or donating an organ transplant from either Muslim or non-Muslim, according to Egypt’s Daily News newspaper.