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Last Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007, 18:40 GMT 19:40 UK
Singapore Muslims in donor ruling
Kidney transplant generic picture
Some Muslims believe the body should be buried intact
Singapore's Muslims should be treated as willing organ donors when they die, the country's Islamic authority says.

The ruling will remove their exemption from a law allowing doctors to remove the heart, kidneys or liver of a body.

As with all other Singaporeans, Muslims will be able to opt out of the donation scheme while they are alive.

The Health Ministry welcomed the move, but said the rule change would not come into effect until the donation law had been altered to include Muslims.

"It is a very positive development that will significantly enhance the access of Muslims with organ failure to donated organs," a spokeswoman told Singapore's Straits Times.

The newspaper reported that just 16,000 from 300,000 eligible Muslims had pledged their organs for donation.

Muslim exemption to the donation law stems from a belief that the dead should be buried intact, unless they have given their active consent to be a donor.

But Singapore's Fatwa Committee, led by its highest Islamic authority, Mufti Syed Isa Semait, ruled that there were enough chances to opt out of the donation programme.

Muslims make up about 15% of Singapore's population.


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