EthicsIn much the same way that genomic technologies are changing the landscape of biomedical research, the ethical issues these technologies generate are setting today’s agenda of ethics research. The distinct ethical issues concerning the management of incidental findings represent a serious challenge that has occupied the minds of

Western bioethicists for a while, but has yet to capture due attention from specialists in the Muslim world.

Incidental findings are generally defined as results that arise although they were not part of the original purpose of the research project or clinical test. Ethical management of these findings is not a simple matter, because while they can be lifesaving, they can also lead to harmful consequences for the individual and community at large, and at other times lack any clear significance.

The new report ‘Genomics in the Gulf region and Islamic ethics’ addresses some aspects of the ethical management of incidental findings from an Islamic perspective.

Report focus

Incidental findings are generally defined as the results that arise despite not being the intended original purpose of the research project or clinical test. Ethical management of these findings is not a simple issue because while they can be lifesaving, they can also lead to harmful results for the individual, and community at large and at other times lack any clear significance.

The authors address some aspects of the ethical management of incidental findings from an Islamic perspective. The report is divided into three main areas:

  • An overview of recent genomic initiatives in the Gulf region with a focus on Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
  • A review of international deliberations on the ethical management of incidental findings.
  • Delineating Islamic bioethical discussions related to incidental findings.

Report insights

The report issues a series of six recommendations to help improve discussion and develop culturally sensitive policy for the management of incidental findings:

  • Potential recipients of incidental findings should be properly informed.
  • Incidental findings that can lead to actionable, lifesaving procedures should be disclosed.
  • Incidental findings related to (misattributed) paternity should not be disclosed.
  • There are many nuances that will affect best practice in the ethical management of incidental findings.
  • Rigorous research on Islamic ethics is needed in order to properly indigenize genomics in the Gulf region.
  • Islamic bioethics should be rooted in the Islamic tradition but should also engage with global bioethical discussion.

READ FULL REPORT: Islamic Ethics

Forum Chair: Dr. Mohammed Ghaly, Professor of Islam and Biomedical Ethics, Center for Islamic Legislation & Ethics (CILE), Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS), Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU)

Mohammed Ghaly

Mohammed Ghaly is a professor of Islam and Biomedical Ethics at the Center for Islamic Legislation & Ethics (CILE), Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar. In 1999, he studied Islamic Studies in English at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt and was awarded his Bachelor’s degree cum laude. In 2002, he earned his Master’s degree in Islamic Studies, also cum laude, from Leiden University, in the Netherlands and in 2008, he received his PhD from the same university.

During the period 2007-2013, Dr. Ghaly was a faculty member at Leiden University and since 2011, he has been a faculty member at the Erasmus Mundus Program, a European Master of Bioethics program jointly organized by a number of European universities.

Dr. Ghaly currently serves as the editor-in-chief of Journal of Islamic Ethics (published by Brill) and serves on the editorial board of a number of academic journals. He also acts as a research consultant on a number of research projects. He was invited to lecture on Islamic bioethics at many universities around the world including Imperial College London, Oxford University, University of Oslo, University of Chicago and Georgetown University. During the academic year 2014-2015, he was Visiting Researcher at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University. He is also the Lead Principal Investigator of the research project “Indigenizing Genomics in the Gulf Region (IGGR): The Missing Islamic Bioethical Discourse” funded by the Qatar National Research Fund (2016-2019).