New Zealand Muslims come from across the globe. AAP/Martin Hunter, CC BY-SA
Among the many groups and individuals who oppose New Zealand’s current euthanasia bill, Muslims have made their voice heard. On the eve of the End of Life Choice Bill’s second reading debate in Parliament tonight (June 26) the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand released a statement saying euthanasia is against their religion and against the interests of their immigrant community. However, the community’s champion since the March 15 Christchurch mosque shootings, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, is backing the bill. Here is the community’s statement.
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FIANZ, the voice of New Zealand’s Muslim community since 1979, is opposed to euthanasia and the End of Life Choice Bill. We give voice to our concerns on behalf of our community.
As New Zealand Muslims, we are worried that the vulnerability of our community members could be exploited if euthanasia is legalised by Parliament.
Islam considers all human life sacred. Life is to be protected and promoted and not terminated prematurely. It is neither permissible in Islam to kill another human being, nor even to kill one’s own self. God Says, “Do not take life, which God made sacred…” (Qur'an 17:33), and “Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves…” (Qur'an 4:29-30).
As a community we implore our elected democratic Ministers of Parliament to join us to also oppose euthanasia – and to instead focus our efforts on how to better support and care for every New Zealander. It is not for us or doctors to kill or aid others in destroying themselves.
Our predominantly immigrated community will be made vulnerable under the proposed bill. We outline seven key areas of concern for your consideration:
1. Most of our community immigrated from countries where authorities are hardly questioned. We are worried that they could be suggested, pressured or coerced by authoritative figures like doctors to end their lives if they had terminal illness or disabilities.
2. We are concerned making euthanasia legal here will normalise it for future generations and erode our cultural identity.
3. Many of our community are much poorer compared to others in society – some having come as refugees. In cases of severe illness where health care costs are high and carers are scarce, members of the community could request euthanasia out of guilt – as many are already conditioned into thinking they are an economic burden to the society – as a way of relieving the society of their burden.
4. Due to the high unemployment rate in our community, legalising euthanasia could make it easier for unscrupulous members of poor families to pressure terminally ill relatives to request euthanasia as a way of relieving the family of their physical and economic burden.
5. If euthanasia were legalised, the taxes we pay to the government would be used to train and deliver the act of euthanasia – making us as taxpayers complicit in this.
6. Persons in our community who are in extreme pain and clouded by depression, shock and grief could make irrational decisions due to their conditions and request their own death by euthanasia – not giving themselves time for possible recovery or coming to terms with their condition.
7. And perhaps most importantly, legalising euthanasia may provide the societal acceptance needed by those with suicidal tendencies in our communities to rationalise committing suicide.
Passing this legislation will be tantamount to saying to our terminally ill and disabled that their lives are less valuable to the society compared to the youthful.
If patients or those in pain currently can refuse treatment and die naturally as a result, why should legislation be enacted to legalise euthanasia, when it in turn places so much risk on already vulnerable members of our communities.
Dr Mustafa Farouk QSM President of FIANZ