A British psychiatrist who works for the NHS is advising Muslims that MMR vaccine is unsuitable for them:
Dr Abdul Majid Katme, head of the Islamic Medical Association, is telling Muslims that almost all vaccines contain products derived from animal and human tissue, which make them â€œharamâ€, or unlawful for Muslims to take.
He argued that leading â€œIslamically healthy livesâ€ would be enough to ward off illnesses and diseases.
â€œYou see, God created us perfect and with a very strong defence system. If you breast-feed your child for two years â€” as the Koran says â€” and you eat Koranic food like olives and black seed, and you do ablution each time you pray, then you will have a strong defence system,â€ he said.
â€œMany vaccines, especially those given to children, are full of haram substances â€” human parts, gelatine from pork, alcohol, animal/monkey parts, all coming from the West who do not have knowledge of halal or haram. It is forbidden in Islam to have any of these haram substances in our bodies.â€
As mentioned in the Times article, this is reminiscent of the Nigerian Polio vaccine conspiracy – although admittedly less crackpot. It should be noted that this is not the only religion to have problems with vaccines – and one would be surprised if Dr Katme is truly representative of Muslim medical opinion.
The sad irony about Islamic anti-vaccination arguments is that in medieval times the Islamic scientific community translated and preserved ancient Greek, Persian and Indian texts and added their own valuable contributions to medical science. One wonders how those scientists would greet Dr Katme’s views, not to mention parents who may pay the price for following his advice.
Pakistan has a measles vaccination coverage of 69% – far too low to provide herd immunity. According to this Pakistani Newspaper announcing a vaccination drive in Pakistan, there are an estimated one million cases of measles, and 20,000 associated deaths due to measles in Pakistan. It is also notable that medics in Iran accept the benefits of vaccination, and The Islamic Republic of Iran has consistently high vaccination rates.