If they’re so concerned about modesty, why do these Muslims think they’re so special?

The UK-based Telegraph reports:

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.

*I assume they mean some Muslim medical students

The UK’s Department of Health has introduced new policy this month requiring all doctors to be bare below the elbow in order to stop “the spread of infections such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, which have killed hundreds.” This new policy is being objected to, and in at least one case compliance was outright refused, on religious grounds by an unspecified subset of female Muslim medical students across the UK. Apparently these students think that their religion is deserving of special treatment. That it should transcend national medical policy intended for all doctors and medical students. Apparently they think that their fundamentalist interpretation of the Koran is more important than equality and medical policy enacted to SAVE LIVES.

These students are not alone in their prioritization of fundamentalist Islam over equality and life. The Telegraph reports that

The Islamic Medical Association insisted that covering all the body in public, except the face and hands, was a basic tenet of Islam.

“No practicing Muslim woman – doctor, medical student, nurse or patient – should be forced to bare her arms below the elbow, ” it said.

Dr. Charles Tannock, a Conservative MP and former hospital consultant, takes the words out of my mouth:

“Perhaps these women should not be choosing medicine as a career if they feel unable to abide by the guidelines that everyone else has to follow.”

Tannock also said that “These students are being trained using taxpayers’ money and they have a duty of care to their patients not to put their health at risk.”

I should start a ticker to count the number of times I share a point of view with a conservative…

Tannock and I are not alone in this stance. Indeed, a number of medical professionals and hygiene experts echoed the sentiments that policies for healthcare professionals should be universal, not subject to special faith-based considerations.

These Muslim fundamentalists really need a reality check. If they want to live in an Islamic republic, then they can live in the Islamic World. When one comes to a secular nation, so long as one does not violate any secular laws one can can bring their religion with them, dress as they like, pray as they like, congregate as they like, maintain their traditional diet, and share their culture with others. This is all well and fine. But for the love of all that is good, I beg all Western Islamic citizens: Would you please stop acting like you are entitled to special treatment?! Do you have the slightest idea what “secular” means? It means separation of church and state. What that means is NO SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR RELIGION. This includes YOUR religion. The covering up of female Muslims’ arms may be a commonly held (extremist) tenet of Islam, but not unnecessarily risking the health and lives of patients is a commonly held (rational and humane) tenet of medicine! It’s also a commonly held tenet for being, y’know, a GOOD PERSON! And moreover, no Muslim has to keep their arms covered. They choose to keep their arms covered. And Muslim communities chooseto maintain unnecessarily rigid standards. If female Muslim medical students, doctors and other medical professionals want to choose to keep their sleaves rolled down, then they can choose to leave medicine. That’s one of the benefits of living in a secular democracy: you often have choice. If you want to live in a secular democracy and have the opportunity, then live in a secular democracy. If not, either change careers or go to a place where you can keep your sleaves rolled down while giving medical treatment.

Dr. Majid Katme, the spokesperson of the Islamic Medical Association said: “Exposed arms can pick up germs and there is a lot of evidence to suggest skin is safer to the patient if covered. One idea might be to produce long, sterile, disposable gloves which go up to the elbows.”

If covered up skin is safer to the patient than exposed skin, then perhaps Katme should address the Department of Health on these secular reason-based grounds. If he is correct and having such long gloves is the best (or an equally good way to go, in comparison to bare arms) then great. Win-win situation. But if not, then as far as I am concerned female Islamic healthcare students and professionals can either roll up their sleaves, find a new profession, or find a country to practice that has not yet instituted the policy just adopted in the UK, but hopefully other places will if it is indeed a valid practice.

Islam and Muslims are not special. The sooner they Muslims learn this, the better. And equally important, the sooner that politically correct Muslim-coddling liberals* learn this, the better.

*Note: I am certainly not saying that all liberals fall under this description. In fact, on the liberal-conservative social and economic spectra, I am certainly a social liberal, and would probably be classifiable as an economic liberal, too. I have a less-defined position on the latter, and more thought and information is required.

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Comments
13 Responses to “If they’re so concerned about modesty, why do these Muslims think they’re so special?”
  1. Scote says:

    If gloves were enough, surgeons wouldn’t wash their hands before donning them.

    The whole “they can just use long gloves” bit is completely contrary to antiseptic procedures. You can’t just put a long glove over dirty skin and call the matter closed. The whole scrubbing in procedure is an integrated process to reduce cross contamination and infection–and gloves can break, so it is extra important to clean before gloving up.

    Antisepsis is one of the simplest and greatest inventions of modern medical science. To now try and turn back the clock to the days when surgery always meant infection for medieval religious reasons is completely asinine.

  2. zameen says:

    It is not any new thing that false propganda is made a tool to defame Islam. But be sure all the darkness of the world can extinguish this candle of light. We see venum is comming out from the bellys of infideles against Islam.
    Secularism is nothing but a slogan.
    A man should be fundamentalist though he be affiliated to any religion. We must be commited to some truths and tenets; and it is the fundamental tenet of every religion that ‘be you ever so high, truth is above you’.
    Every God-fearing man is always a true human and never dangerous.
    There is a day of reckoning and it is as certain as law of gravitation.
    So what muslim medical students say is correct and right too. You should not be un- neccessarily afraid of these truths.
    (Zameen)

  3. ronbrown says:

    Zameen:

    What false propaganda? This really is happening? And how is this defamatory toward Islam as a whole? It’s defamatory toward a certain subset of the interpreters of Islam.

    Secularism is nothing but a slogan and Islam is nothing but a fairy tale. Lets call it even, shall we? Actually, no, lets not call it even. Until there is anything even remotely close to good evidence for any particular religion, lets call secularism reasonable and Islam and all other religions the opposite of that. My blog my rules. Secularism is reasonable. Islam is not. That’s right, I’m playing God on my blog. After all, I am THE CREATOR!

    We must commit to some truths? Why? Why claim objective knowledge when there is no basis for it? Tenets I can go along with in the sense that they are required for a society to function. For instance, we shouldn’t allow murder as it constitutes allowing people to bring horror to others and creates a state of societal insecurity and danger.

    If it is a fundamental tenet of all religions that truth is above you, then why do these religions claim to know the truth about the origin of the universe, morality, and the like? Ironic how when they actually make a reasonable statement (when endorsing ultimate agnosticism) the next thing they do is violate it. Ironic but completely characteristic of religion.

    Every God-fearing man is never dangerous? What about the Islamic terrorist? Now, I will say that I do not think that Islam is the root cause of such terrorism. I am cognizant of political factors. However, to say that these God-fearing men are not dangerous is patently ridiculous.

    If the day of reckoning is as certain as gravity, where is the evidence for its coming? If you are referring to the gradual collapse of the universe, okay, there might be scientific evidence for that (however many billions of years away it may be). But I doubt that that is what you are referring to.

  4. evolution says:

    Hi Ron,

    Just wanted to say, not all Muslims believe in this interpretation. I’m a Muslim, but I believe that in case such as these, Islam is flexible enough to allow for laws in other countries and for rules of hygiene.

    I may add more comments later, and interesting blog you have here,

    evolution

  5. ronbrown says:

    Ev:

    Hi. First off, your pic is both hot and very cool.

    More importantly, though, I certainly don’t think that all Muslims subscribe to this interpretation. This is why I made it a point to say things like “these Muslims” and “some Muslims” rather than simply saying “Muslims”. The last thing I want to do is slam people like yourself who clearly are nothing like these people.

    Something that most people wouldn’t guess about me given my name is that half of my ancestry is Islamic. My mother is from Uganda with the lineage going back to India. My mom doesn’t participate at all in Islam, but some of her relatives still do—some quite actively. They’re Ismaili Muslims, which to my understanding is one of the more liberal branches of Islam.

  6. Could it be that when people with pent up feelings, having perhaps suffered prejudice; may be using these initiatives to draw attention to their “otherness” by refusing to comply with common sense rules?

  7. evolution says:

    Ron, thanks for your comments and glad you like the avatar. I just started a blog recently, because a lot of people blame both fundamentalists and moderates, moderates for not speaking up and condemning the fundamentalists.

    Winslie, no, we cannot make excuses. It’s because like the popular saying: “they kept the shell and forgot the essence.”

    Unfortunately, some Muslims forget the point of these rules- i.e modesty. If you remember the modesty part, then it’s all about intention and I personally think you can be flexible about the rules.

    Clearly rolling up your sleeves in this case is about hygiene and not not about attracting anyone (which is the point of hijaab in the first place). Common sense.

    Also I just want to point out hijaab is a deep concept reflected in behaviour and intention. It’s not just superficially about covering up with cloth.

  8. ronbrown says:

    Ev:
    I personally have been in the camp that also casts some of the blame to moderates, because the moderates are playing a big (though incidental) role in making it very difficult to make direct criticisms at the fundamentalists. Because it is socially taboo to criticize beliefs and values stemming from religion, people often have to be unnecessarily delicate with fundamentalists. Another thing is that as long as moderates are fairl quiet, the fundamentalists will be able to claim to represent the religion to followers and prospective followers. If the world’s moderates stood up and said that these fundamentalists do not represent us, that we find them to be an embarrassment and an insult to the faith and that what they are practicing is not what Islam is about, fundamentalist leaders would have a more difficult time rallying followers. I’m not saying that they would no longer be able to gain support, but it would be that much harder.

    You may have disagreements with this position, and I’m all ears to hear them. Your in-group perspective may offer things that I have not been able to observe from my outsider perspective.

  9. evolution says:

    Ron,

    Strangely enough, I agree with you. It’s great to have this discussion, as it’s refreshing that we can have an open exchange of ideas in this way. My personal definition of moderate is not someone who is merely politically correct, but rather someone who is secular, whether they believe in God or not is entirely personal.

    Actually, belief is rather irrelevant here, because I strongly think that the only way for us to live side-by-side in a multicultural society, is if there is a complete separation between faith and State, but where people are still allowed to practice a personal faith. I believe in a balance between freedom to practice religion as long as you’re not encroaching on anyone else’s rights.

    I do not believe that we should be delicate with the fundamentalists, and I believe we should stop making excuses Whilst i do believe that the media can be unfairly biased as times, there needs to be a greater degree of self-criticism and self-reflection. Clearly, these problems stem from somewhere, we can no longer afford to ignore that if we want a solution.

    The problem is that the fundamentalists love talking about their religion, whereas for moderates, it comes less naturally. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but if you are a secular Muslim, then of course you probably are less inclined to talk about your faith.

    However, i agree with you that the moderates need to make their voices clearer. At the same time, I can name many moderates who don’t believe that there is a conflict between the West and Islam. These are in the minority, but at the same time, they aren’t given as much of a platform as the crazy people (much more fun to watch a lunatic talk about Islam than a moderate 😉 ). Not only that, but take someone like Tariq Ramadan – he is moderate but people try to discredit him by saying his father was part of the Muslim Brotherhood and that he supports terrorism – this is all simply incorrect. So i don’t understand why they allow Crazy bin Lunatic 😉 a slot on TV but not someone relatively normal like Ramadan.

  10. urrr says:

    You need to grow up, there is no scientific evidence to support the “bare below the elbow policy” anyway. And for that reason, if a health professional refutes doing anything that has no scientific significance then they have every right to do so. I think muslims would take the matter more seriously if being bare below the elbow had any scientific evidence. Its just for the public to make it seem as though hospitals are doing such things to prevent superbugs. You can bare all you want, if you don’t wash your hands then YOUR GOING TO SPREAD INFECTION! being a health professional observing the medical team I KNOW THEY DONT WASH THEIR HANDS AT EVERY GIVEN OPPORTUNITY! so maybe you should get your facts right before having a go a people’s religion and basis of their argument.

  11. urrr says:

    Unfortunately, some Muslims forget the point of these rules- i.e modesty. If you remember the modesty part, then it’s all about intention and I personally think you can be flexible about the rules.

    Clearly rolling up your sleeves in this case is about hygiene and not not about attracting anyone (which is the point of hijaab in the first place). Common sense.

    Also I just want to point out hijaab is a deep concept reflected in behaviour and intention. It’s not just superficially about covering up with cloth.

    thats all well and good EVOLUTION but in islam it clearly says you can’t show any part of your body apart from your hands or face. I doubt the women who are bringing this issue to light are ones that cover without the intention to be modest. When you intend something, you have to follow it by an action, for that action to valid as a sin or a deed. No point living off intention to be modest. Because the person your exposing yourself to, doesn’t necessarily have the same clean intentions do they?

    Be moderate all you want, but when your compromising your religion, who you doing it for? Allah? I DONT THINK SO. compromising and deleting part of your religion to fit into a society has no benefit in this life or the Hereafter. You being a muslim should know that.

  12. evolution says:

    urr:
    You “being a Muslim” should learn to be less judgmental. Only God judges me, because God is just. You, “being a Muslim” shoud know that.

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