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Should Muslims have faith based health services?

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39071.595301.94 (Published 11 January 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:75
  1. Aneez Esmail, professor of primary care
  1. 1School of Primary Care, University of Manchester, Manchester M14 5NP
  1. aneez.esmail{at}manchester.ac.uk

    At a time when many government and public bodies are recognising the importance of engaging with faith communities, Aziz Sheikh advocates that the UK should provide specific health services for Muslims. But Aneez Esmail argues that such services could enhance stigmatism

    How we judge human identity is central to the question of whether we monitor religious identity in healthcare settings. The reality is that identity is not singular but complex and encompasses ethnicity, religion, social class, and even the value systems of our parents and other influential figures.

    History is replete with examples where the fostering of a singular identity is subsequently used to encourage violence and persecution against people who are not conceived as being part of that identity—the holocaust, communal violence between Muslims and Hindus in India, the genocide committed by Hutus against Tutsis in Rwanda, and the ethnic violence between Serbs, Croats, and Bosnian Muslims in the former Yugoslavia are a few modern day examples. The terrorist attacks in New York in 2001 and London in 2005, the continuing conflict in the Middle East, and the war in Iraq have led many people to question the relationship that Muslims in the West have with their governments. Crude categorisations of Muslims and their beliefs, Samuel Huntington's popularisation of the theory on the clash of civilisations, and …

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