Singapore (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A new ruling in Singapore will assume that all Muslims are willing organ donors unless they choose to opt out. Under Singapore's laws, hospitals can remove the kidneys, liver, heart and corneas of all non-Muslim citizens or permanent residents when they die. Now a new law includes Muslim citizens.
The world over Muslims can choose to donate their organs, but are exempted for religious reasons. Many Muslims believe that the dead should be buried with their organs intact.
Nazirudin Mohd Nasir, head of the office of the Mufti at Singapore's Islamic Religious Council said "it's the first religious ruling that will allow Muslims to be included under the Human Organ Transplant Act," that is which considers them willing donors unless permission is expressly refused. Mufti of Singapore, Syed Isa Semait, announced the ruling after a two-year deliberation, noting that “Islam does not forbid organ donations or transplants but such consent needed to be explicitly expressed”.
Muslims make up 21 percent of the 600 patients in Singapore who are waiting for an organ transplant, but account for only 2 percent of patients who actually receive a new organ.
The problem of presumed consent is under discussion in the country: A Singapore hospital sparked a public outcry in February this year after it switched off the life-support of a man who was declared brain-dead by doctors, defying pleas from his family, so that his organs could be removed and donated.