Scottish Muslims Oppose Assisted Suicide Bill

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SHAFAQNA – As the Scottish parliament debates the “Assisted Suicide” bill, Muslim leaders have launched a new campaign against the proposal, terming it “unethical, unnecessary, dangerous and contrary to the common good”.

“Muslims strongly believe all human life is sacred because it has been granted by Allah,” the Council of Imams Scotland said in a letter cited by Common Space on Tuesday, May 27.

“Assisted suicide will put vulnerable people at great risk and will undermine the care and social solidarity that are due to those who are ill.”

The Council of Imam’s letter comes as members of the Scottish parliament debate the “Assisted Suicide Bill” that will give those suffering the right to die.

Introduced by independent MSP Margo MacDonald, before she died last year, the bill has been vehemently opposed by Scottish religious leaders.

Agreeing with Muslims on this issue. the Church of Scotland opposed the bill.

“Any change in the law to allow assisted suicide or euthanasia would be unethical, unnecessary, dangerous and contrary to the common good,” the Muslim Council added.

“Efforts should be made to focus on improving care, in particular making our excellent palliative care available more widely.”

While many MPs backed the bill, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in March that she “remained unconvinced”.

“I voted against it the last time and, although we are not near another vote yet, I haven’t been convinced about assisted suicide this time,” she said.

On the other hand, many prominent Scottish figures have supported the bill including author Ian Rankin, actor Elaine C Smith and Scots Makar Liz Lochhead.

On Wednesday’s hearing, Green MSP Patrick Harvie, who is championing Scotland’s the Assisted Suicide Bill, called for backing the proposal, saying that he believes the case has been made for a change in the law.

“Whatever view members take of the detailed operation of this legislation were we to pass it, I hope that all members who understand the basic principle, who accept the idea that human beings have the right to make a decision in circumstances such as a terminal or life-shortening illness,” Harvie was quoted by the Glasgow South and Eastwood Extra.

“I hope that members will give this Bill the opportunity to come forward to the next stage, and then we can begin to debate the amendments that come forward.”

Suicide is prohibited in Islam, and is considered a criminal offence with punitive laws in almost entire Muslim world.

Scotland has about 75,000 Muslims. About 40% of them live in Glasgow.

Muslims are the second largest religious group in the country, which has around thirty mosques.

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