|Fadlallah condones human cloning
Cleric asks why should anyone prohibit something new?
Daily Star staff
Science, and all it has to offer, should be welcomed with open arms, Sayyed Mohammed
Hussein Fadlallah said Friday as he addressed several hundred medical students and
professors at the St. Joseph University during a talk that focussed on the benefits of the
much-controversial cloning of human embryos.
What is the difference between creating a human being by combining a sperm and an
egg or bringing one into this world from a single cell (taken from an adult)? the
leading Shiite cleric, reputable for his frank talk, told the predominately Christian
crowd during the lecture entitled Ethics in Medicine and Life.
What have cloners really discovered? the white-bearded Fadlallah asked.
The answer is simple, that a human being can be created from a single cell.
But creation is the act of God and (scientists) have simply discovered an existing
phenomenon in the system of life, he added, pointing out that cloning does not
clash with religious ideology.
Religion was sent to serve the human being and not vice versa, and the study of
medicine serves people, Fadlallah said.
Why should anyone prohibit something new if it seems unusual, and doesnt
exactly fit the norm, Fadlallah, who survived a 1985 assassination attempt by the CIA,
The Hizbullah spiritual leaders name appears on a US list of terrorists, along with
the resistance group, which Washington believes engages in terror practices.
Yet, Fadlallah pointed out that human embryo cloning was not harmful to the dignity
of human beings, stressing that the practice was indeed religiously permissible.
Still, he said that the discovery could be abused by some. You can use
cloned body parts, but you cannot clone an entire person for the sole purpose of using his
or her organs.
During the hour-long address, Fadlallah also expressed his opposition to mercy killings
and joked that, if permissible, all Lebanese would ask for it due to the current
economic situation, after which chuckles were heard from the audience.
He further touched on a number of issues regarding ethical practices in the field of
medicine, highlighting the importance of autopsies as long as science cannot
progress without it.
Fadlallah condemned so-called honor killings, which are more common in the eastern part of
the country and most notably in Baalbek, describing those who perpetrate them as
Those who kill a woman to defend the honor of the family are criminals, because what
they are really defending is their tradition and bigotry, he said.
Otherwise, why would these same parents hire a lawyer for their son when he commits
(sex-related crimes), Fadlallah added, drawing applause from the crowd.
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