Turkish parliament discusses ‘halal medication’

Turkish parliament discusses ‘halal medication’

Bülent Sarıoğlu - ANKARA
Turkish parliament discusses ‘halal medication’

Turkish lawmakers discussed whether treatments including porcine products can be classified as “halal” or not during a committee meeting, intended to look into the causes and treatments for gluten-sensitive coeliac disease, on Oct. 5 in Ankara.

“We should respect individuals who say they are Muslim and reject porcine products,” said Yılmaz Tezcan, a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker during a session of a related parliamentary commission.

Tezcan was opposed by Ceyhun İrgil, a main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) member.

“Of course we respect them but this is not related to gluten. Chemotherapy is done with pork gelatin. The patient has breast cancer. What will you do?” İrgil asked.

“Science does not differentiate among religions,” said Gaye Usluer, a CHP member from Eskişehir.

As İrgil reminded Tezcan that 90 percent of cardiac valves are made of pig organs, Tezcan said he would prefer an alternative to products he does not consider “halal.”

Turkey’s Ministry of Health and the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) have extended financial support for a project that will produce bovine bone graft, a substance commonly used in surgery to fix bones, joints and teeth, in order to provide a “halal” alternative to porcine products that dominate the market on May 17, 2016.

Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) defines halal as something being “legitimate according to Islam.”

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