Why has Egypt, a pioneer of organ transplantation, been reluctant to pass a national organ transplant law for more than three decades? This book analyzes the national debate over organ transplantation in Egypt as it has unfolded during a time of major social and political transformation—including mounting dissent against a brutal regime, the privatization of health care, advances in science, the growing gap between rich and poor, and the Islamic revival. Sherine Hamdy recasts bioethics as a necessarily political project as she traces the moral positions of patients in need of new tissues and organs, doctors uncertain about whether transplantation is a "good" medical or religious practice, and Islamic scholars. Her richly narrated study delves into topics including current definitions of brain death, the authority of Islamic fatwas, reports about the mismanagement of toxic waste predisposing the poor to organ failure, the Egyptian black market in organs, and more. Incorporating insights from a range of disciplines,
Our Bodies Belong to God sheds new light on contemporary Islamic thought, while challenging the presumed divide between religion and science, and between ethics and politics.
Sherine Hamdy is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Brown University.