The Australian Islamic Medical Association (AIMA) organised an online seminar and Q&A session for medical and health professionals and the community on Islamic ethical deliberation on vaccination and COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday 18 September 2021. Dr Mohammed Ghaly, a professor of Islam and Islamic bioethics from Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar, was the guest speaker at this event.

The online event was attended by medical and other health professionals from different Australian states, internationally, and many Australians from diverse backgrounds, including representatives and office bearers of various community organisations.

The programme commenced with the recitation of the Holy Quran by Ali Kashif, a health professional followed by Dr Habib Bhurawala, Sydney based Paediatrician and central executive committee member of AIMA, welcoming everyone and providing a brief update on the event’s purpose, especially the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Sydney and Melbourne as well as vaccine hesitancy in some sections of the community.

Dr Asif Raza, Sydney based senior specialist in intensive care medicine and anaesthesia, explained that the objective and purpose of AIMA is to unite and inspire Muslim health professionals in Australia. He further stated that AIMA members wish to serve and contribute towards the welfare of Muslims and the broader Australian community.

Dr Raza emphasised the need to organise interactive sessions with health experts to help health professionals and community members with any questions about COVID-19 and vaccines.

Dr Fariha Dib, Sydney based general practitioner and member of the ICSOA health committee, welcomed and introduced Dr Mohammed Ghaly.

Dr Ghaly completed Bachelor in Islamic Studies from renowned Al-Azhar University in Egypt and later completed Masters in Islamic studies and a PhD in religious studies from Leiden University in The Netherlands.

He is an acclaimed academic with numerous publications in reputed international journals, authors of books and editor in chief of the journal of Islamic ethics.  

Dr Mohammed Ghaly gave an overview of the historical perspective of vaccines in general and in Muslim countries in particular.

He also discussed and explained that COVID-19 vaccines are supported by the majority of current Islamic scholars in many countries, Muslim government organisations and authorities across the world.

Dr Ghaly emphasised the need to have a proactive approach from the scholars and described in detail vaccines’ ingredients and their permissibility within the Islamic framework. 

The question-answer session was moderated by members of AIMA, Dr Hatem Elkady (intensive care specialist), Dr Wajdi Hadi (anaesthetist) and Dr Zeina Merhi (obstetrics and gynaecology).

This session generated much interest from the audience.

The seminar program concluded with a vote of thanks by Dr Mohammed Ali Tahir, Sydney based respiratory specialist who is a member of AIMA in NSW. 

Recording of this session and details of other activities conducted by the Australian Islamic Medical association is available on the website:  www.aimamed.com.au