Islamic Fiqh Academy, Al-Azhar
Emphasize Legality of Polio Vaccines
Group on Polio Eradication (IAG) held its fifth annual meeting here recently. During the meeting, the OIC-affiliated International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA), Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and Dar Al-Ifta Al-Massriyyah stressed the legality of polio vaccines. They urged parents and affected countries to facilitate the work of medical teams to immunize and protect children and to combat misleading fatwas, affirming at the same time that polio vaccination is not in conflict with the teachings of the religion of Islam.
The meeting was addressed by President of IIFA Dr. Saleh Bin Humaid, who is also member of the Council of Senior Scholars and imam of Makkah Grand Mosque, Secretary General of the OIC, Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, Professor Saleh Abbas Goma Saleh, deputy sheikh of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and envoy of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, Dr. Shawky Allam, grand mufti of Egypt (statement delivered on his behalf by Dr. Mohammad Wesam Khedr), Dr. Mohamed Jouini, vice president for Partnership Development at the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, director of the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean.
For his part, the OIC secretary general said that since there are misleading fatwas prohibiting polio vaccines in some regions in the Muslim world, he calls on IAG to support the proposal of the Islamic conference of health ministers to establish a voluntary credible OIC network of Muslim doctors to help people with special health needs in member states and alleviate their suffering.
Al-Othaimeen said that the number of polio cases had decreased significantly in affected countries.
The secretary general stressed that IAG has also contributed to improving polio eradication initiatives in Afghanistan by decreasing religion-based refusals, raising public awareness of polio, improving access to some of the hard to reach areas, and increasing demand and use of polio vaccination. He emphasized the need to double efforts to ensure a polio-free world by the end of 2019, and commended IAG’s decision to expand its mandate to include routine immunizations, as well as other Mother and Child Health (MCH) priorities including breastfeeding, birth spacing, hygiene and sanitation, and care-seeking behaviour during pregnancy.