In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
It just does not seem possible. As the investigation into the failed London/Glasgow terrorist attacks continues, eight men have been arrested in Britain and Australia. What has shocked me to the core is that these men all had links to British National Health Service – they were all doctors or medical students. According to news reports, the two men who drove the burning Jeep Cherokee into the Glasgow Airport have been identified as Dr. Bilal Abdulla and fellow doctor Khalid Ahmed. They also allegedly planted the two Mercedes car bombs that failed to detonate (thanks be to God Almighty).
It just does not seem possible. If what is alleged against these men is indeed true, then it is a double betrayal: betrayal of the principles of Islam and those of the medical profession. There is no other profession that is more in tune with the core Islamic principles of peace, mercy, compassion than medicine. The Qur’an says that “if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the lives of all the people” (5:32). Life is sacrosanct in Islam, as embodied in multiple verses of the Qur’an, this being only one: “And do not take a life that God has made sacred, except for just cause.” (17:32) By no stretch of the imagination could setting off car bombs in West End in London or a suicide bomb in the Glasgow Airport be considered a “just cause.”
No matter what wrong has been done to the Muslims, there is no justification for the taking of innocent life. It is not “defending Islam” in the least; it is not “martyrdom,” but cold-blooded murder. The Qur’an is quite clear: “Do not let the hatred of some people move you to commit injustice.” (5:8). Never can the legitimate suffering of Muslims around the world be justification for the murder of innocent human beings, no matter where they are, no matter who they are, no matter what faith they claim to profess.
Thus, for a Muslim to wilfully commit an act of mass murder such as a car bomb is betrayal enough. I really do not understand how someone who plots an act of terror can call himself a “Muslim” at all. Yet, if that “Muslim” also happens to be a doctor, it defies all logic and understanding. I simply cannot understand how a doctor can do something like the failed attacks in London and Scotland.
Primum non nocere. “First, do no harm.” That is the first principle of the medical profession, and it is universal, across all cultures, languages, and lands. Our primary mission is to preserve and protect human life and health. The staunch commitment of a doctor to this mission is evident from the very beginning of his or her medical training. In order to become a physician, especially in today’s day and age, one has to be totally committed to taking care of people and helping them feel better (with the help of God, of course). It takes four years of university study (and being at the top of one’s class at that), then four years of medical school (if he or she gets past the arduous admission process), and then anywhere between three and eight years of post-graduate training (working 80 or more hours per week).
Add to that the many, many examinations that we are forced to take for licencing and certification as well as the thousands (and sometimes even hundreds of thousands) of dollars in debt that is taken on to finance a modern medical education. And when it is all said and done, young doctors enter into practice having to cope with the specter of malpractice lawsuits and shrinking reimbursements from insurance companies. Medicine today is not a pretty picture.
Yet, I love every minute of my being a doctor. Taking care of my patients consumes my every waking minute while I am working (and many, many waking minutes when I am not at work). I have spent countless hours lying awake at night thinking about my patients’ medical conditions and problems. Sometimes, I can’t go to sleep because I am thinking about my patients’ cases. I have lost count of the number of times I have come in from home to the hospital to see a sick patient, sometimes having to forgo an entire nights sleep as a result. Keeping people alive (by the power of God) consumes my entire being as a doctor, and the same can be said about any doctor in practice anywhere across the world.
As a result, I can’t even imagine how any doctor could actively plot to deliberately destroy human life. It just doesn’t make any sense. If what is alleged against these physicians is indeed true, they have shamelessly defiled our noble profession. If what is alleged against them is true, they are a terrible disgrace, and they should be banned from the practice of medicine entirely. To be a doctor is to enter into a sacred trust; to betray that trust by becoming an agent of satanic mass-murder is a crime unspeakable. I cannot fully put into words my rage and horror at what these “doctors” are alleged to have done.
Yes, terrorists come in all makes, shapes, sizes, and flavors. Despite that fact, however, never in my wildest dreams did I think a doctor, entrusted by the public and by God to help save human life, would try to commit a cowardly act of vicious terrorism. Never in my wildest dreams.