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Singapore's Islamic authority says local Muslims may be assumed willing organ donors

Singapore's Islamic authority says local Muslims may be assumed willing organ donors

Singapore's Islamic religious authority said Friday it has issued an edict that allows local Muslims to be assumed to be willing organ donors.
The edict paves the way for the Health Ministry to propose amendments to Singapore's organ donor law to include Muslims, a move that would also improve their chances of receiving organs if they need them.
Under the current law, all Singaporeans, except Muslims, are considered organ donors unless they opt out of the system, and hospitals may remove their hearts, kidneys, corneas and livers when they die or are certified brain dead.
For religious reasons, Muslims must currently sign up individually to donate their organs as many believe their bodies should be buried intact.
Although Muslims do not oppose organ donations, Islamic law requires the donor's active consent rather than the government's presumed consent.
A committee headed by the mufti, or top Muslim cleric, Syed Isa Semait, has issued a religious ruling (fatwa) that allows for Singaporean Muslims to be included in the city-state's Human Organ Transplant Act, said Nazirudin Mohd Nazir, head of the office of the mufti.
The committee decided that the current organ donor law gives Muslims ample opportunity to opt out of the donor program during their lifetime, Nazirudin said.
Out of about 300,000 eligible Muslim adults in the city-state, only 16,000 have pledged their organs for donation, according to The Straits Times newspaper.
Muslims make up 21 percent of the city-state's waiting list of 600 people for organ transplants, but form only 2 percent of the recipients because those who have pledged their organs are given priority over non-donors, the newspaper reported.
Singapore is 80 percent ethnic Chinese, while Malays, most of whom are Muslim, make up about 15 percent of the country's 4.5 million population.


Updated : 2021-10-17 08:06 GMT+08:00