Does Shariah’ Have an Impact on Performing Genetic Screening Test Before Marital or Pregnancy?
Received Date: April 01, 2020; Published Date: June 12, 2020
For the Muslim Arab population of Israel, religion has a central place in culture and daily life. As of 2018, 57% of Israeli Arabs have defined themselves as traditional, and 31% have defined themselves as highly religious. The influence of religion is felt in areas such as employment and academic education . One issue in which the influence of religion has been debated is the relationship between religion and the conduct of hereditary screenings among Muslim Arab in Israel. According to , on one hand the Arab women in Israel do not cite religion as a factor influencing their decision to conduct a screening test, and on the other, a significant relationship between the degree of Arab women’s religiosity and the lack of responsiveness to conduct the screening test was demonstrated.
The issue of screening test among Muslim Arab women in the Mediterranean region has gained awareness in many countries. In countries such as Cyprus and the Paletstinian Authority, failure to respond to hereditary test performing can provoke a response from authorities, ranging from a substantial embezzlement to divorce up to a refusal to get a marriage lisence . Also, the religious implications of the screening were discussed more than a decade ago in Saudi Arabia  and since then there have been no policy changes on the part of clerics in Israel.
The subject of genetic screening examinations is of particular high importance to the Arab population, as Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa have a high prevalence of close marriages, a known risk factor for hereditary morbidity. For example, in Lebanon, up to 31.6% of marriages are among first or second cousins, whereas in the Palestinian Authority this figure reaches up to 24.2% .
Despite the awareness that Islam is closely linked to the various health aspects , the degree of clerics’ awareness of hereditary screening test’ significance and importance as well as their impact on conducting these tests has not been adequately studied until recently. This article will deal with preliminary research among Arab clerics in Israel on the hereditary screening examinations issue and in recent policy changes.
Keywords: Genetic test; Shariah; Hereditary diseases; Arab Muslim; Arab clerics; Awareness; Fatwa.