Doctors have no place in terrorism

Posted on July 16, 2007


by Asma Mobin-Uddin
Source: The Columbus Dispatch

The thought of physicians treating sick patients by the light of day while plotting to kill innocent people under the cover of darkness sickens and angers me on a very personal level. If these accusations are true, they are the ultimate betrayal of the trust placed in physicians to use their hands for healing, their intellects for diagnosis and their demeanors to bring comfort to the sick.

As a Muslim physician, I am following the London and Glasgow terror-plot investigation with incredulity, anger and outrage.

Islam teaches me that the gifts I have been given are entrusted to me by God for the purpose of serving humanity. I know that God is witness to my actions and intentions, and I will be accountable to him. The Quranic verse that equates saving one life with saving the lives of all of humanity teaches me the sacredness of each and every life and inspires me to strive for professional excellence.

Any Muslim doctor who would plot terror betrays his or her faith, profession and the incredible legacy Muslim physicians have left. Muslim physicians from the 9th to the 14th centuries were pioneers in the development of many areas of medicine, including in anesthesia, surgery, ophthalmology and pharmacology.

Muslim physicians were the first to systematically use inhalational anesthesia, sedating patients 800 years ago in Islamic Spain by placing sponges soaked in narcotics over the patient’s nose and mouth prior to surgery. Muslim doctors introduced urinary catheters to the West, used cautery to stop bleeding and ligated blood vessels, using cat-gut suture in the 10th century. They developed hypodermic needles and used them to suction out cataracts 1,000 years before this practice was performed in the West. Muslim pharmaceutical texts from this era explained the preparation, uses, doses and side effects of medications and formed the basis for later European drug manuals. [more]

Asma Mobin-Uddin is a Columbus pediatrician and the board chairwoman for the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. She can be reached at

Please click here to read the whole article from the Columbus Dispatch.