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One year On

Dear Brothers and sisters in Islam.

Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullah It is my pleasure to write to you on the first anniversary of the founding of the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA).

Whatever we achieved in this year has only been possible with the help and Blessings of Allah SWT, and all shortcomings were entirely due to us mortals. Our journey began with hopes and ambitions of uniting British Muslim doctors and healthcare professionals by putting in place a grassroots organisation that is committed to the principles of character building, professional development and service to mankind. This we hoped to do for only one objective: seeking the pleasure of Allah SWT.

Our journey began with hopes and ambitions of uniting British Muslim doctors and healthcare professionals by putting in place a grassroots organisation that is committed to the principles of characterbuilding, professional development and service to mankind. This we hoped to dofor only one objective: seeking the pleasure of Allah SWT.

Looking back over the first year of BIMA, we have made significant progress in laying the foundation. We had our sights set high but we kept our feet to the ground. Majority of the work has happened in the background and as a result we now have an organisational presence and infrastructure in all four countries of UK and in all regions of England.

At the same time we have stepped out into the public and participated in the debates around the issues that were concerning the community. These ranged from the issue of veil in hospital, to porcine gelatine in vaccines, to issues surrounding voluntary relief work overseas. We have also been working on community health awareness projects and providing support and guidance to our colleagues. Internationally, we have been recognised as an important player and have started playing active role in Federation of Islamic Medical Associations (FIMA).

You will find the detail in the newsletter but the one outcome that has been most rewarding is the increasing sense of brotherhood and sisterhood felt by our members across the UK from Dundee to Plymouth and Newcastle to Cardiff and Belfast.

This, in my own view has been the most valuable achievement of this first year of BIMA. BIMA has emerged as a hope for uniting healthcare professionals on one platform just on the basis of two common factors: being British & Muslim. I am proud to see that our membership database happily shows doctors of all ethnic backgrounds, specialities, grades, women, students, IMGs and UK born and bred graduates have readily joined BIMA.

This has put BIMA in a take-off position. And now we are going to mark the next year as a year of public activities. There are campaigns and projects being planned right now to be rolled out across the UK in the coming year. Please watch this space and get involved if you can.

In the end, on behalf of the whole association and especially the BIMA Council, I would like to thank you all for your continued support.

I pray from Allah SWT that He accepts all our efforts in His Path and forgive us for our shortcomings. May He help us in keeping our intention sincerely for His Pleasure and keep us amongst the people who “Believed and did the righteous deeds, and exhorted each other to follow truth, and exhorted each other to observe patience” (Surah Al-Asr).

May Allah bless us all.

Wassalamu alaikum wa rahmatallah ,

Hammad Lodhi
President BIMA

Statement: Response to BMJ’s ‘Doctors and Islamic State’

Letter to BMJ Editor-in-Chief

The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) is shocked by the decision of the BMJ Editorial Team to publish the two articles in Duncan Gardham’s work “Doctors and Islamic State”. Gardham focusses on a handful of individuals and attempts to depict British Muslim medical students and physicians as subverters of professional standards and state security, and calls for increased medical regulator surveillance to help minimise this perceived threat.

British Muslim doctors have a proud tradition of humanitarian work in collaboration with many NGOs in war zones across the world. This has received no attention by Gardham, who instead presents a seditious portrayal of dedicated doctors, including the late Dr Abbas Khan who in 2012 was tortured to death in Syrian custody as he helped refugees fleeing the conflict. Gardham offers a cursory mention of his case instead of citing his courage as an example of medical altruism and servitude to humanity. Gardham’s distortion serves only to discourage Muslim doctors from continuing such work, and places unnecessary doubts about the loyalty of professionals serving within our NHS. We defer to the British Medical Association to seek clarification from Gardham for this deplorable stance.

What is particularly bizarre is the choice to publish these features to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the tragic 7/7 London bombings despite the incidents described within the piece, occurring many months ago. To publish at this sensitive time the BMJ has elected to add to widespread anti-Muslim rhetoric and potentially undermine trust within the doctor-patient relationship. Gardham’s piece headlines “British students who have fled to Syria to work while studying in Khartoum (Sudan)”. These individuals may be British citizens but they cannot and should not be described as British students. Gardham’s failure to recognise this distinction seeks to polarise opinion against the majority of law-abiding students in this country.

BIMA calls for the BMJ to redact the feature of all factual inaccuracies and to issue an apology to the doctors and medical students affected by publishing such a biased, insensitive and inaccurate story. BIMA further calls upon the BMJ to offer an opportunity to redress this balance and to celebrate the contribution of Muslim doctors home and abroad. BIMA would be pleased to assist in this endeavour.

Dr. Hammad Lodhi
President, BIMA

BIMA is the democratic body for British Muslim healthcare professionals. We aim to improve patient care through pastoral and professional development for its membership. [email protected] / www.BritishIMA.org

The original article can be found here:http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h3511, and our response is available online here: http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h3511/rr-19

Statement on 2014 Gaza Attacks

The British Islamic Medical Association [1] condemns the attacks on medical facilities and personnel in the Gaza strip. We deplore the killing of patients and staff, and the targeting of ambulances on duty [2]. We urge the British medical community to join us in solidarity.
Innocent civilians in Palestine are bearing the brunt of Israeli aggression with loss of life, limb, livelihood, home, and dignity. Medical supplies are needlessly held at border crossings [3], pharmacy and food stocks are dwindling, basic hygiene is lacking.We welcome and endorse the open letter by eminent medical and humanitarian colleagues in the Lancet [4], calling for an immediate ceasefire and appeal for action. We commend the authors and signatories for upholding our professional ethics and standards in the face of adversity, and applaud their courage.

We are working with British based charities to raise awareness and funds for medical supplies, and encourage all our members to lobby their respective medical. media and political representatives for a more robust response [5].

[1] The British Islamic Medical Association is the only democratic, independent, not-for-profit, grassroots organisation for Muslim doctors and dentists in the UK. For more information please visit: www.BritishIMA.org or email [email protected][2] Independentwww.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israelgaza-conflict-tanks-shell-gaza-hospital-killing-four-and-wounding-30-medical-staff-as-seven-more-israeli-soldiers-die-9619055.html

[3] UNwww.irinnews.org/report/100344/gaza-running-out-of-medical-supplies-as-israeli-bombing-continues

[4] Please sign the open letter here: www.thelancet.com/gaza-letter-2014

[5] Write to the BMA[email protected]; the BBC:www.bbc.co.uk/complaints; your MPwww.writetothem.com