When Sunni and Shiite scholars disagreed over the ethics of cloning animals, I wondered whether there were other bioethical conflicts in the Muslim world.

Are Muslims split over stem cell research and genetically engineered crops? Generally speaking, do they approach biotechnologies in the same way — or variety of ways — as Western cultures?

I posed the question to a handful of Muslim bioethicists. The first to respond was Brown University anthropologist Sherine Hamdy. Wrote Hamdy,

“I think it would be easy and reductionist to make this into yet another ‘Shiite vs. Sunni’ issue, but there has always been a wide space of interpretation and widely debate even within the Sunni Muslim world about various biotechnologies including cloning. Most religious sources say that if a given technology, e.g. cloning is for beneficial purposes and the good outweighs the negative (if there is potential for human cures, etc.) then it is permissible, others have cautioned about the potential danger of creating a ‘super race’ of people, animals….so most of the disagreement is actually about the understanding of the technology itself and what impact it might have.” (MORE)


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