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Organ donor dilemma – Muslims debate scripture, medicine

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As the need for organ donors mounts in the Arab community, Arab Americans are weighing the rewards of saving a life against Muslim beliefs that prohibit organ donation, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

To reach Heaven, Muslims believe, their bodies must return to God in one piece. On the other hand, “There is a saying in Islam: He who saves a life saves humanity,” says Najah Bazzy, an Arab American nurse who has decided to donate her organs after her death.

Religious leaders are collaborating with doctors and community outreach workers to dispel what they call a myth that the Koran forbids organ donation.

As more Arab Americans are diagnosed with liver and kidney disease, doctors are trying to spread the information that transplants between relatives or within ethnic groups have higher rates of success.

In the last six years, only one Arab American donated an organ in Michigan, which contains one of the largest Arab American communities. At least a dozen Arab Americans in that state received transplants, doctors and researchers say.

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