JEDDAH: Fouzia Khan
Published — Thursday 27 February 2014
Last update 28 February 2014 5:59 am
The Islamic Advisory Group (IAG) held its first meeting Wednesday on polio eradication at the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation(OIC) headquarters in Jeddah to review the global polio situation, particularly in polio-endemic, predominantly Muslim countries where the disease continues to strike and cripple Muslim children.
The two-day meeting was organized by the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in cooperation with the World Health Organization, the OIC, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the IAG and UNICEF with the aim of providing high-level global leadership and guidance for building solidarity and support for polio eradication across the Muslim world.
The opening session was attended by Iyad Madani, secretary-general of the OIC; Ahmed Mohammed Ali, president of IDB; Abbas Shuman, deputy of Al-Azhar; Ala Alwan, regional representative of WHO; and Sheikh Saleh bin Abdullah, chairman of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy.
Sheikh Abdullah said at the opening of the session that the main aim of this meeting was to consult, exchange views and to reaffirm support of the Islamic community and leadership in polio eradication and trust in the safety and effectiveness of vaccination. Nearly the entire Muslim world is now polio-free.
“Polio is being fought by governments, associations, WHO and individuals, as it is a subject of major concern. I am confident that today’s meeting will bring fruitful results as it is taking place in the interest of the Muslim Ummah and the Islamic Shariah legislation for the benefit of mankind. All efforts made by the scholars of Islam are in the interest of mankind,” he said.
He further said that the Shariah does not allow anything which is harmful to mankind. “The issue here is vaccination for polio, which is to protect from harm and important for the health of children so it can be safely said that the Islamic Shariah allows polio vaccination. He also condemned the violent actions against the welfare workers of the polio vaccination campaign.
Abbas Shuman, representative of the grand mufti of Al-Azhar, said that Shariah allows the use of drugs to protect against epidemic diseases. The Islamic Shariah has ordered that we protect five key objectives from harm: life, religion, faith, honor and natural resources.
“It is everyone’s duty to protect the life and health of human beings. The attacks on health workers and facilities must be stopped. The health of all children is at risk if health workers and health facilities are attacked so it is everyone’s duty to protect children from polio or any epidemic diseases as going against this will be a sin. Therefore, parents should take their children for vaccination,” he said.