Sunday, January 14, 2007


You'll probably have read that a (singular) Muslim medical professor has advocated special health services within the NHS for Muslims. You might even have read something like this:

Muslims Want Special Treatment from UK Health Service

Yet another demand for special treatment for Muslims, accompanied by claims of victimhood: NHS ‘should treat Muslims differently’. (Hat tip: LGF readers.)
Note the pluralisation of the professor.

Here's where this all started:
Head to head

Should Muslims have faith based health services?

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
The previous issue's Head to head feature was:
Should smokers be refused surgery?
I can't find earlier examples, but this (perhaps new) feature is plainly intended to be controversial. The smokers piece, for example, could perhaps have been headlined Christians want discrimination because it includes this phrase:
To fail to implement such a clinical practice (refusing treatment to smokers) in these select circumstances would be to sacrifice sensible clinical judgment for the sake of a non-discriminatory principle.
(My emphasis)

It is regrettably unsurprising to see such illiberal sentiments about smoking expressed in the BMJ.

It is equally regrettable that, while it is almost inconceivable that anyone from any other religion should express, in all seriousness, a wish for seperate health facilities, it just raises an "Oh not again!" reaction when it comes from a Muslim.

This sort of special pleading is doing immense damage to community relations. It gets extrapolated from "a Muslim professor" to "Muslims" and contributes to an already widespread and deep resentment in other parts of the community.

Recently, someone who works in a large teaching hospital in London told me about a break period, during which a group of nursing assistants were sitting together. None were Muslim, though only a small minority were English. The subject of Muslims came up and it was as though the flood gates had burst. Everone was complaining about Muslims - Africans, Poles, Hindus.

Professor Sheikh is one of a small number of Muslims who are doing the image of their community, and its long term interests, immense damage.

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