Lecturer in Islamic Studies Mansur Ali does research on Islamic bioethics. A key part of his work at the moment involves Muslims and organ donation. He was featured this month on a radio documentary for BBC Radio 4 called Me and My Fatwa. Here’s how his contribution happened:
How did your part in this radio piece come together?
The journalist [BBC’s Jo Dwyer] has been following Amjid Ali’s mission in trying to obtain a new fatwa. She learned from him that I was doing research in this area and both of them came to my office to interview me. In fact, Jo Dwyer came twice: once with Amjid and the next time on her own.
How effective do you think mass media journalism is for conveying the research academics do?
I think it can be very effective. Academics sometimes find it hard to simplify complicated information in to language that the general population can understand. Journalists function as bridges for them.
Tell us a bit about the research that underpins your part of the radio piece.
Since January 2016, I’ve been looking at organ transplantation in Islam. The idea came to me after many Muslims in Cardiff contacted me with theological questions related to donating organs when deemed consent became law in Wales the previous month. I thought it was timely to start research in this field. I’ve been reading fatwas in Arabic and Urdu on the topic to try to make sense of all the different opinions.
You can listen to the piece here, through BBC Sounds. Dr Ali’s contribution begins at the seventh minute, but listen to the whole piece (28 minutes) for insights into Islam, organ donation, and the process by which new legal rulings are created.