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Views & Reviews

Radical Muslim doctors and what they mean for the NHS

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 10 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:834
  1. Irfan Al-Alawi, international director (London)1,
  2. Stephen Schwartz, executive director (Washington, DC), schwartz@islamicpluralism.eu1
  1. 1Centre for Islamic Pluralism

    The disclosure that the leading alleged conspirators in last year’s bombing attempts in London and Glasgow were Muslim doctors sent a shockwave through the worldwide non-Muslim public. The same question was asked everywhere: how can those who are trained to heal turn to terrorism?

    Our organisation, the Centre for Islamic Pluralism, has compiled a report, Scientific Training and Radical Islam, which we were preparing when the London and Glasgow events occurred. The report is now complete and available as a free download at It is a distillation of field research, interpretation of major source materials in Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, and English, and collation of individual perspectives from a team of Muslim researchers. All members of the team are experienced in the observation of Islamist movements throughout the world. The report offers answers to the questions asked by personnel in the NHS, which employed three of the suspects in the London and Glasgow incidents. Firstly, did the doctors who were alleged to have been involved in such a conspiracy represent a freak phenomenon, marginal and uncharacteristic of Muslim medical staff? And secondly, were they radicalised before or after coming to Britain?

    Our replies to both questions, based on our observations, are discomfiting. Many Muslim doctors, in Muslim and non-Muslim countries, have embraced the extremist doctrines of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudi Wahhabis, and the Pakistani jihadists. Such …

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