The first international conference on Islamic Bioethics convened scholars, students, librarians, and policy advocates who shared insights and concerns at the intersection of Islamic bioethics and modern Western medicine. Held June 24-25, 2012 at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar, “Islamic Bioethics: The Interplay of Islam and the West” represented the culmination of a three-year grant from the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) to identify and acquire materials on Islamic medical and scientific ethics. A group with the Bioethics Research Library’s Islamic Medical and Scientific Ethics (IMSE) project joined their colleagues in Doha and renowned scholars involved in debates on global bioethics for the occasion.
“This symposium was the culmination of the first phase of our project, and reached an even larger number of participants than envisioned three years earlier,” stated Doris Goldstein, Principal Investigator of the QNRF-funded IMSE project and Senior Advisor for International Initiatives at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. “The conference provided a platform for one of the project’s original goals — to support intercultural dialogue on Islamic issues around the world.”
Henk ten Have (Duquesne University, pictured left) and Tariq Ramadan (Oxford University) were keynote speakers; other speakers covered topics such as Muslim religious scholarship on AIDS; Fiqh councils and health policy actors; Islam, environmentalism, and medical ethics; and organ transplantation in an Islamic context. Participants from Canada to the Philippines were in attendance.
The conference included a workshop to introduce online tools developed collaboratively by the teams in Doha and Washington. Participants were instructed how to conduct searches on specific topics, identify resources in English, Arabic, and Farsi, and contribute original articles or books to the collection and/or information to the database, which currently provides access to over 1,700 written works.
The research activities of the project will be extended for three more years by a continuation grant from QNRF, which will be expanded to include development of the first encyclopedia of Islamic bioethics. This continuation project will be directed by Ayman Shabana (Visiting Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at SFS-Q).