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PIA Press Release

Leaders hold dialogue on reproductive health from Islamic perspective

By Pops Gumana

General Santos City (20 October) -- Local officials and Muslim community leaders from the different municipalities and barangays of South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos City participated recently in the first community dialogue, during the launching of "Alternative Streams: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in the perspective of Islam at Mindanao State University here.

According to Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) Davao Chapter Vice President Dir. Maduh Damsani, the project seeks to expand the space for participation of Muslim communities that would enrich their quality of understanding, appreciation and consensus building towards SRHR within the context of Islam.

He said during community dialogues, issues on the Islamic perspective of SRHR were addressed and discussed while a core group of advocates that will give voice and leadership to the health advocacy of the communities involved was formed.

We have received support from several Muslim religious leaders in this kind of advocacy that's why in March 2004 a "fatwa" (Official Ruling on Reproductive Health and Family Planning) was formed by respected Ulama in Davao City during the 'Tanzim Al-Usra' Assembly, he disclosed.

Meanwhile, some provisions in the "fatwa" states that "improved reproductive health condition of the Muslim people benefits the individual Muslims and strengthens the Muslim nation socially and in all other aspects of human life;"

It added, "family planning does not refer to abortion, neither to birth control. It refers to birth or child spacing. It should be a couple's decision. All methods of contraception are allowed as long as they are safe, legal, in accordance with the Islamic Shari'ah, and approved by a credible physician preferably a Muslim for the benefit of both the mother and the child."

"What is unique in this project is that every community can have their own "fatwa", which can be similar or different from the other community as long as it does not violate what is in the Qur'an," said FPOP Executive Director, Atty. Rhodora Raterta. (PIA SarGen) [top]

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