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Keywords:

  • Bioethics;
  • Fatwa;
  • Malaysia;
  • GM food;
  • developing world;
  • developing world bioethics;
  • Malay-Muslim community

Abstract

The field of bioethics aims to ensure that modern scientific and technological advancements have been primarily developed for the benefits of humankind. This field is deeply rooted in the traditions of Western moral philosophy and socio-political theory. With respect to the view that the practice of bioethics in certain community should incorporate religious and cultural elements, this paper attempts to expound bioethical tradition of the Malay-Muslim community in Malaysia, with shedding light on the mechanism used by the National Fatwa Council to evaluate whether an application of biological sciences is ethical or not. By using the application of the genetically modified food as a case study, this study has found that the council had reviewed the basic guidelines in the main references of shari'ah in order to make decision on the permissibility of the application. The fatwa is made after having consultation with the experts in science field. The council has taken all factors into consideration and given priority to the general aim of shari'ah which to serve the interests of mankind and to save them from harm.