Oh what’s a few germs between friends

There’s just no end to the joys of fundamentalism, is there. Health, hygiene, avoidance of untreatable illness and death, adherence to established rational medical norms? As nothing in the balance compared to what is said to be ‘a basic tenet of Islam’ – no matter how stupid, trivial, pettifogging, mindless, exaggerated, plain bloody absurd the ‘basic tenet’ is. This should (again) be something out of The Onion but apparently isn’t.

Muslim medical students are refusing to obey hygiene rules brought in to stop the spread of deadly superbugs, because they say it is against their religion. Women training in several hospitals in England have raised objections to removing their arm coverings in theatre and to rolling up their sleeves when washing their hands, because it is regarded as immodest in Islam.

Right. Those things between the wrists and the elbows – they’re obscene and sexual and smutty, on women, so they have to be kept wrapped up at all times or else men will run amok and start trying to copulate with them. (Never mind how, they just will.) This is a basic tenet of Islam.

Universities and NHS trusts fear many more will refuse to co-operate with new Department of Health guidance, introduced this month, which stipulates that all doctors must be “bare below the elbow”. The measure is deemed necessary to stop the spread of infections such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, which have killed hundreds.

Yes but stopping the spread of lethal infections is not a basic tenet of Islam. So there.

[T]he Islamic Medical Association insisted that covering all the body in public, except the face and hands, was a basic tenet of Islam. “No practising Muslim woman – doctor, medical student, nurse or patient – should be forced to bare her arms below the elbow,” it said.

A thoughtful, careful, reasonable, sensible response. Never mind the health and safety of the patients (some of whom are Muslim, don’t forget), no practising Muslim doctor or nurse should be required to obey the medically necessary rules. Well done Islamic Medical Association. (Is there an alternative? A Sensible Islamic Medical Association? A Not Quite So Deranged Islamic Medical Association? A Quasi-rational Islamic Medical Association?)

22 Responses to “Oh what’s a few germs between friends”