Our Bodies Belong to God: Organ Transplants, Islam, and the Struggle for Human Dignity in Egypt

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-03-01

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Why has Egypt, a pioneer of organ transplantation, been reluctant to pass a national organ transplant law for more than three decades? This book analyzes the national debate over organ transplantation in Egypt as it has unfolded during a time of major social and political transformation--including mounting dissent against a brutal regime, the privatization of health care, advances in science, the growing gap between rich and poor, and the Islamic revival. Sherine Hamdy recasts bioethics as a necessarily political project as she traces the moral positions of patients in need of new tissues and organs, doctors uncertain about whether transplantation is a "good" medical or religious practice, and Islamic scholars. Her richly narrated study delves into topics including current definitions of brain death, the authority of Islamic fatwas, reports about the mismanagement of toxic waste predisposing the poor to organ failure, the Egyptian black market in organs, and more. Incorporating insights from a range of disciplines, Our Bodies Belong to Godsheds new light on contemporary Islamic thought, while challenging the presumed divide between religion and science, and between ethics and politics.

Author Biography

Sherine Hamdy is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Brown University.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Note on Confidentiality and Photographyp. xi
Note on Transliterationp. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Prefacep. xxi
Introduction: Bioethics Reboundp. 1
Egypt's Crises of Authorityp. 21
Defining Death: When the Experts Disagreep. 47
From Secret to Scandal: Corneas, Dead Donors, and Egypt's Blindp. 83
Shaykh of the People: Genealogy of an Utterancep. 115
Transplanting God's Property: The Ethics of Scalep. 141
Only One Kidney to Give: Ethics and Riskp. 173
Principles we Can't Afford? Ethics and Pragmatism in Kidney Salesp. 209
Conclusions: Where Cyborgs Meet Godp. 239
Epilogue: The Ongoing Struggle for Human Dignityp. 253
Notesp. 257
Glossary of Frequently Used Arabic Termsp. 297
Referencesp. 301
Indexp. 319
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