how Muslims mobilize

how Muslims mobilize

” What is happening ? Are we not concerned about death or something? » When Azzedine Gaci, president of the Theological Council of Imams of the Rhône, noticed that no Muslim representative was present, on February 8, at the dinner on the end of life that Emmanuel Macron organized with religious leaders, he was left speechless. The place allocated to the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, Chems-Eddine Hafiz, who was unable to attend, remained empty, as a symptom of the difficulties in representing Islam in France.

“Even if he had come, what would he have said? »then asked Azzedine Gaci, who is also rector of the Villeurbanne mosque. “The question of the end of life has never been raised in Muslim bodies”deplores this historic actor in French Islam.

Since the start of the debate, it is the Catholic Church which has undoubtedly been the most active, the bishops multiplying their interventions to express their opposition to the bill legalizing“assisted dying” . The Muslim faith has certainly expressed itself firmly against euthanasia and assisted suicide through the voice of the Grand Mosque of Paris. But the subject has, it seems, not yet mobilized much in local associations and among the faithful, in comparison with other current issues such as the war in Gaza.

Insights provided by determined actors

However, certain public figures of religion have taken up the pen or spoken to express their opposition in the name of Islamic tradition. And in hospitals, reflection seems all the more necessary as theological insights on the subject of the end of life may be requested by Muslim patients.

Despite the absence of an official representative body, insights have still been provided by a few determined actors who do not hesitate to express their views on this major social debate. In April, Sadek Beloucif, head of the anesthesia-resuscitation department, was interviewed by the National Assembly. This doctor fears that the law “leads towards a culture of permissiveness of death, particularly towards the poor and the most deprived. »“I fear that my co-religionists will feel this way about the current debate”he confides.

Former member of the National Consultative Ethics Committee, Sadek Beloucif published a column at the end of 2022 in the newspaper Le Monde with the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris. The two men also contributed to a collective work on cults and the end of life. The French Council of Muslim Faith – which is no longer recognized as representative by the public authorities – also expressed its opposition to “assisted dying” on the Muslim information site Saphirnews.

But beyond, “Muslim citizens stay relatively away from bioethical questions”, notes Azzedine Gaci. The reason, according to him, is the lack of structuring of worship and therefore of the development of common reflection. “Other religions have answers because they have ethics committees at the national level,” he observes. “We have not done this work, no official body thinks about this subject, publishes, and calls on the imams and mosques”.

Clear Muslim ethics on the subject

However, according to his analysis and that of the Muslims interviewed, Muslim ethics are clear: euthanasia or assisted suicide are not authorized, in the name of the preservation of life, one of the higher objectives of the religion. In one of his sermons on the subject, Azzedine Gaci insists on the sacredness of life, supported by verse 32 sura 5 of the Koran: “Whoever kills a person not guilty of murder or corruption on earth, it is as if he had killed all men, and whoever saves a life, it is as if he had saved all 'humanity. »

He also invokes the fact that the man's body does not belong to him: it is a “deposit” which he must take care of and which he has the obligation to look after. Finally, he insists on the fact that no attack on the life and body of human beings can be committed since “It is God who gives life and death. » (s10 v56).

For several months, Azzedine Gaci has made it his mission to raise awareness among his co-religionists, and notes that the subject is of interest when it is broached. This is demonstrated by the 160 people who came to a conference-debate lasting more than four hours organized in the Villeurbanne mosque of which he is the rector, Saturday 1er June.

Reflection seems all the more necessary as enlightened theological opinions are sometimes requested by patients, says Mohammed El Mahdi Krabch, Muslim chaplain, referent for hospitals in Hérault (Occitanie). “We receive questions from patients who want to know what Muslim ethics says about euthanasia, but also what this practice consists of,” he testifies, evoking the patients he accompanied: a family where several of the children had Charcot's disease, or a patient who was suffering acutely and to whom deep and continuous sedation was offered until her death. death.

“The theological dimension is called upon when we are faced with this test”, he elaborates. In this profession which requires “a lot of humility”he tries “to accompany”, without “place yourself in a directive posture. »


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