This week's BMJ contains a debate over whether the NHS should have make special allowances for Muslims. Here is how teh BBC website deals with the qustion:
The NHS should provide more faith-based care for Muslims, an expert says.
Muslims are about twice as likely to report poor health and disability than the general population, says Edinburgh University's Professor Aziz Sheikh.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, he called for male circumcision on the NHS and more details over alcohol derived drugs.
Here are three previous stories on the same topic:
1: Some Muslims are undermining the battle to rid Britain’s hospitals of killer infections by refusing to wash their hands when visiting sick relatives.
Dispensers containing anti-bacterial gel have been placed outside wards at hospitals all over Britain in a bid to get rid of superbugs like MRSA and PVL.
It prevents people bringing in more infections. But some Muslims refuse to use the hand cleansers on religious grounds because they contain alcohol.
Health watchdogs are so concerned they intend to meet with NHS bosses in the New Year to try and hammer out a solution.
NHS care assistant Theresa Poupa, 46, became aware of the situation while visiting a sick cousin at the London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green.
She said: “I could not believe it - the signs are large enough and clear enough but they just took no notice and walked straight onto the ward.
“I was there almost every day for three weeks and I saw it repeated dozens and dozens of times. When I raised the matter with the nursing staff they just shrugged and said that Muslims were refusing to use the gel because it contained alcohol.
“They said they couldn’t force visitors to use the gel and I understand that — but I was astonished that anyone who didn’t wash their hands was allowed onto a ward.
“I know the dangers that bugs like MRSA can cause. They kill hundreds of patients a year.”
Michael Summers, chairman of the Patients’ Association, said: “I have been made aware of this situation during discussions with nurses and it is a very serious state of affairs.”
2: Medical scandal surrounding a 17 year old male shepherd from Konya who was unable to receive proper attention at the Konya Testing Hospital due to the fact that two of the attending radiology doctors were women wearing headscarves, has grown.
The shepherd, referred to only as "A.G." in reports, arrived at the Konya Testing Hospital complaining of swollen testicles, and was sent to get ultrasound tests, but was refused service by two female doctors wearing headscarves. The shepherd later had to have one of his testicles removed by operation. Yesterday the Turkish Parliament debated the case, with opposition CHP Party members asserting that they would be following the case. Meanwhile, the Konya hospital's head of urology, Doctor Celal Tutuncu, said yesterday that he felt that the case was very "black and white," and that as soon as documents showing exactly which doctors had refused service to the shepherd were made clear, action would be taken.
A top CHP lawyer, Atilla Kart, spoke to Hurriyet yesterday, noting he was not "surprised" by the case, saying "This is the destruction wrought by religious references spilling over into public adminstration."
He went on: "This is the point at which Turkey's public administration has arrived. It is clear that that turbaned doctor was working with the full knowledge of the hospital administration.....But in fact the incident is not limited to the administration of the hospital; I believe it is also linked to the regional administration too. We see now what can happen when religious exploitation and religious references are carried over into our government....Konya is a photograph of the general situation in Turkey."
3: As France's national assembly neared the end of a four-day debate on a ban on religious emblems in state schools, the prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, said "similar legislation" was planned to stop hospital patients refusing to be treated by male doctors. Health administrators have reported cases of Muslim husbands who would rather their wives were denied treatment than be examined by a man. Women in labor have refused epidurals because the anesthetist was male.
Let's not go there.
My personal experience with Islam is quite different from this. Most Muslims that I have met have behaved impeccably.
What we are facing is a perversion of Islam that has gripped fairly ignorant people. While in the UK we have seen young men and women who have come under the influence of imams from Pakistan and Afghanistan who seem to believe that blowing themsleves up together with hundreds of fellow travelers serves the cause of God. I know that these outrages are not confined to Western countries.
The BMJ article was pleading for a health service with special consideration for Muslims. My point is that everybody must be treated equally. For example, take circumcision of young boys. Jews and Muslims believe it should be done as part of their faith. Christians believe it should be done only for medical reasons. My argument is that if Jews and Muslims want this extra service then they should make arrangements to have it financed. Muslim countries and Israel may wish to have this provided for them by the state - that is their business, but they can hardly expect a Christian country to provide it from state funds.
Jehovah's Witnesses refuse blood transfusions. Anemic patients have an alternative to blood transfusion, the drug erythropoietin. Unfortunately it is 4 times as expensive as blood transfusion, and it is unavailable to NHS patients. If Jehovah's Witnesses demand it then their church must pay for it and not expect it paid for by the taxpayer.
In many circumstances in the NHS it is possible for a patient to be seen by a doctor of the same sex, but we do not have the resources to guarantee it. On occasion it is necessary for a patient to be seen by a doctor of the opposite sex. The patient must be willing to accept this or go to a private physician of their choice.
Female circumcision is required by some Muslim comunities. In England this is seen as criminal assault.
As a Christian I deplore drunkenness. I am ashamed that British young people go to foreign countries and desport themselves in a lewd and drunken manner. Christians have things that we are ashamed of too.
After the bombings in London, New York, Madrid, Bali, Egypt, India, Kenya, Tanzania, and I am sure many more, all conducted by Muslim extremists the world has come to equate the words 'Muslim' and 'terrorist'. Obviously this is a gross oversimplification, but sane Muslims are the only people who can defeat these people. Muslims who behave as if it their God-given right to live in foreign countries under Islamic law deceive themselves. They are sowing antagonism against Islam and one day may reap a whirlwind.