Bioethics News

ISIS has authorised forced organ removals of ‘apostates’

[embedded content]

Persistent rumours about organ trafficking by the Islamic State have some basis in fact. Amongst a trove of documents captured by US troops in a May raid in Syria is Fatwa 68, dated January 15, 2015. The opinion, issued by the Islamic State’s “Research and Fatwa Committee”, states unequivocally that organs may be taken from “apostates” without their consent, and even if it causes their death.

However, no proof has been found that organs have in fact been removed from ISIS captives. Nor is it clear who would be classified as an “apostate” by the extremist Sunnis who support ISIS. In the past Yazidis, Christians and other non-Muslims have been described as apostates, but also Shias and Sunnis who disagree with the ISIS.

The reasoning behind the fatwa is based on arguments by Islamic jurists justifying cannibalism in extreme circumstances. (This is a translation by the US government.)

If the jurists had permitted, when necessary, the consumption of human flesh as a means counter to death or harm, then it is even more appropriate to transplant of organs from the apostate to the Muslim to save the life of the latter. This is especially the case since it was ruled that the apostate’s life and organs are not protected. On the contrary, the apostate’s life and organs don’t have to be respected and may be taken with impunity.

Based on aforementioned, the categories of the apostate’s organs are broken down into the following cases:

1-The rule is applicable on organs that could be put to use in both cases- pre and post-mortem.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.