Prominent Muslim doctor in Britain opposes all vaccination

One of the things that religion poisons is human health. I’ve posted extensively on how Christian sects that spurn modern medicine, like the oxymoronically-named “Christian Science,” have caused the deaths of many. And the rest of us, including “moderate” believers, enable this poisoning by making laws that allow people to withhold medical care from children on religious grounds. Since the children are either uncomprehending, brainwashed, or powerless, I see this as one of the most horrible effects religion has on society. It’s also a blatant demonstration of the incompatibility between religion and science, which is another way of saying the incompatibility between rationality and irrationality.

And the medical irrationality is not just limited to Christians.

Dr. A. Majid Katme is a spokesman for the “Islamic Medical Association (UK)” and its former head, described by Brian Whitaker in The Guardian as a “respected figure in the British Muslim community. ” Katme is also a big danger to society. He opposes vaccination—all vaccination—as un-Islamic.

If you want to read a pernicious and ignorant document, go see Dr. Katme’s post, “Islam, vaccines, and health,” written in 2011 for the “International Medical Council on Vaccination” (IMCV). Orac has posted several times on the IMCV (e.g., here), which, although it has Ph.D.s and M.D.s as members, is basically just a crackpot anti-vaxer group.  In the case of Katme’s piece, it’s suborning quackery.

Katme’s document asserts several things:

  • That vaccines contain poisons. He mentions “heavy metals, pus from sores of diseased animals, horse serum, calf serum, faecal matter, foetal cells, urine, macerated cancer cells, sweepings from diseased children, formaldehyde (a carcinogen used in embalming fluid), phenol (a carcinogen capable of causing paralysis, convulsions, coma, necrosis and gangrene), lactalbumin hydrolysate (an emulsifier), aluminium phosphate (an aluminium salt that is corrosive to tissues), retro-virus SV-40 (a contaminant virus in some polio vaccines), antibiotics (e.g., neomycin tm) that lead to antibiotic resistance, chick embryo (as a growth medium for the virus), sodium phosphate (a buffering salt), and foreign animal tissues containing genetic material (DNA/RNA) from the growth medium.”  Some of these are correct, some not, but what they do contain contain is antigens that protect against disease.   The list of chemicals (none of which are in any one vaccine, and really, “pus from sores of diseased animals?”) is there as a scare tactic.
  • That vaccines are based on a flawed theory: “the long-discredited theory that stimulation of antibodies in the human body equals protection from disease.  This theory has not only failed to be proved, but has been repeatedly disproved.  Stimulation of antibodies does not equal immunity and certainly does not equal permanent immunity.” He’s wrong here, unless by “proved” he means “logically proved.” In fact, immunity to disease is conferred by prompting the production of antibodies.  Some immunity is permanent, some not (ergo revaccination, usually orally, for polio).  But the fact that the theory is wrong is just pure misrepresentation.
  • That vaccines haven’t been tested against controls: “Unthinkably, vaccine studies do not include placebo groups.  Instead, they use other vaccines in ‘control’ groups, making it impossible to properly note actual rates of adverse events between a test group and real control group.” He’s wrong here, too, as you can see by doing about 30 seconds of Googling about control groups in the history of vaccination. Controls were there from the beginning, including Jenner’s tests on cowpox. And the controls weren’t “other vaccinations”; they were either the injection without the antigen, or no injection at all. And of course the vaccinated group had significantly less disease than the unvaccinated one.

Of course, none of this comes from science. What it comes from is religion, which Katme makes clear:

  • “The case of vaccination is first an Islamic one, based on Islamic ethos regarding the perfection of the natural human body’s immune defense system, empowered by great and prophetic guidance to avoid most infections.”

Well, we know what the “pure” Islamic way of not vaccinating leads to: smallpox, polio, whooping cough, measles, mumps, and all manner of avoidable diseases. Oh, and HPV as well, which is totally preventable by vaccination.  Here’s Katme’s take on that:

  • “Sexual immorality and adultery are stirred by offering our daughters HPV vaccination against cervical cancer.”

Good Lord! He’s one of those who, like some Catholics, prefers young women to die than to have sex. (He also notes, wrongly, that “Notably and incredibly, the HPV vaccine is shown to make some recipients even more susceptible to cervical cancer.”)

If people tell us that Islam is innocuous, a religion of peace, just cite the above. If Muslims took Katme’s advice and stopped vaccinating children, the world would experience dreadful epidemics of smallpox and polio.  With the vaccines, we’ve wiped smallpox off the face of the earth. We’d get rid of polio, too, but Islamic clerics in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria urge believers to oppose polio vaccination, claiming it’s a plot to sterilize Muslims. And, of course, it’s in those places that polio keeps popping up.

Oh, I forgot: maybe we can blame the anti-vaxer stance of many Muslims not on religion—even though that’s the motivation they claim—but on those colonialist oppressors with their Western medicine and needles.

58 Comments

  1. francis
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    //

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      ///

  2. Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Medicians who oppose established medical practices should be expelled from the medical proffesional community.

    • Kevin
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      What about humans who oppose reason? Or worse, humans who teach their children to oppose reason and willfully keep them from engineering controls which would allow them to navigate life with fewer risks of death and disease. The lot of them disgust me.

      • Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        “The lot of them disgust me.”

        So do I.

  3. bonetired
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    FFS. Should be struck off. Seriously. Wakefield was bad but this guy is lethal.

  4. gbjames
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Of course there are a lot of wacko anti-vaxers who don’t seem to be motivated by religion, at least not directly.

    • Diane G.
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Like, oh, say, those motivated by the CIA.

      (I know, I sound like a broken record..)

      • Posted December 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        Not sure if you were referring to this CIA operation, but yes… I’m afraid our spooks really shot our health authorities in the foot with this one.

        • Diane G.
          Posted December 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

          That’s the one.

          Central Incompetence Agency.

  5. Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Muslim opposition to vaccination has been directly responsible for the failure to eliminate polio from northern Nigeria, and hence worldwide.

  6. AKS
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I wonder if the good Dr. Katme also opposes female genital cutting…bet not.

  7. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    But the fact that the theory is wrong is just pure misrepresentation.

    You mean “the claim that the theory is wrong”.

    He’s one of those who, like some Catholics, prefers young women to die than to have sex.

    This doesn’t quite add up. If they don’t have sex, they’re at no risk of death from HPV. What you mean, I think, is that he thinks death by HPV is an appropriate punishment for premarital sex.

    • Suri
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Genital contact without penetration is sufficient to get infected, so I guess it could be said that sex is not necessary in order to get HPV,right?

      • Gregory Kusnick
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        I’m guessing that counts as punishable “sexual immorality” in Dr. Katme’s book.

        • Chris
          Posted December 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          Well, yeah. I wonder if he thinks that women should be executed for adultery if they’ve been raped too?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Well yes, he would like to punish women for having sex just like some Christians would. He’d probably prefer not using protection as well so you can die of sexually transmitted diseases or get pregnant every time you have intercourse – good if you’re married (since you are a breeding machine) & good if you are not so you can be called a whore.

    • Vicki
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      And for a woman who has sex within marriage, if her husband has ever had sex with another woman, before or after marrying her. That’s right, they want adulterers’ wives to die horribly, along with women who marry widowers.

      This also goes with the idea that rapists are just doing what men do (which is a horrible slur against men), and their victims are horrible and deserve to be punished.

  8. Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Fantastic post. I loved every word of it. The words,”…..which is another way of saying the incompatibility between rationality and irrationality” were particularly exciting to read.

    Thanks.

    • Diane G.
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      That pleased me, too; definitely worth repeating, in all its permutations. I particularly like, “the compatibility between science and religion is like the compatibility between rationality and irrationality.”

  9. Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    As far as I’m concerned, vaccination should be involuntary, with the only exceptions being medical grounds and generally limited to well-documented significant allergic responses and compromised immune systems.

    And, by, “involuntary,” I mean, “Hold you down and stick a needle in your arm.”

    The only other way to ensure that a potential plague carrier is no longer a potential plague carrier would be forced exposure to guaranteed-infectious doses of contagions, while in quarantine and with the quarantine lasting until the individual can be ascertained to no longer be infectious. That’s not economically feasible, and certainly not economically justifiable compared to the cost of a couple cops, a nurse, and a new syringe.

    Whether he realizes it or not, this dude better be careful of what he asks for. If immunization rates plummet amongst Muslims, nobody outside the Muslim community will want to have any contact with them, and the perceived persecution will become not only real but fully justified.

    One more thing: we need to stop calling these people “anti-vaxxers” and start calling them “plague carriers” or “Typhoid Marys” or “filthy disease-ridden scumbags” or the like. The fire they’re playing with will burn the whole house down unless we take their matches away from them.

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Kevin
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Agreed on the name. Anti-vax is not pejorative. It makes it sound like there is both ambition and reason behind their (unjustified) crusade. “Plaguers” is good.

      My hope is (naively knowing little about biological systems) that a vaccine could be administered to someone that would then make that person immune (99.999%) to that ‘bug’. And if someone chooses not to take it, they will only infect others who have not taken it. Sort of a voluntary euthanized society. Of course we all end up paying for their stubborn stupidity in different ways.

  10. Suri
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Nevermind the 3 million deaths that are prevented every year.

  11. Owen Recognizance
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    I suspect that the isolation of Muslim communities would be regarded by Dr. Katme as a feature, not a bug.

    • Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      That kind of isolation would inevitably lead to armed conflict and ultimately the destruction of the Muslim world. It would rightly be perceived as biological terrorism and warfare, with the un-vaccinated no different from suicide bombers.

      Of course, that’s not going to happen; there are way too many less-insane Muslims to let it get to that point. But that’s exactly the type of “going out in a blaze of glory” that this baby-killing quack is hyping.

      b&

  12. Milton Zmijewski
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Less Muslims = Better world. What is the problem?

    • Dave
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      The problem is that it should be “Fewer muslims”, not “Less”

      Personally I would prefer that reduction in number to come about by the voluntary abandonment of Islam in favour of atheism and secular humanism, rather than decimation by infectious disease, but I guess that’s in the hands of muslims themselves.

    • Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      The problem is all the children of Muslims who will be the first victims, and then waves of non-Muslims who fall victim as disease outbreaks spread.

      Vaccines aren’t 100% effective, and not everybody is medically eligible to get them. The true advantage to vaccination is the concept of “herd immunity.” If 90%+ of the population is vaccinated, chances are slim that a single infected person will infect anybody else. But, once vaccination rates start to drop significantly below that, and you start getting vaccinated people getting milder infections, but still spread it on to others in an outbreak that gets really nasty. Not as nasty as if nobody got vaccinated, but really nasty nonetheless.

      Vaccination has fuck-all to do with your own personal immunity. You don’t get vaccinated to protect yourself from disease. You need everybody around you to get vaccinated to protect yourself from disease — and, obviously, the only way for that to happen is for everybody, including you, to get vaccinated.

      The anti-vax movement is about the most anti-social, the most evil one you’ll find in modern history.

      Cheers,

      b&

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Oh dear. I’m sure you didn’t intend the genocidal ring to your words. Less followers of Islam might be good (just like less followers of any religion is good IMHO) but I don’t want those people to die out, just change their minds.

    • Vicki
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Millions of dead and disabled children is not my vision of a better world.

      If that doesn’t concern you, consider airborne diseases such as measles: that sick person you consider expendable might have been on a bus, or in a doctor’s waiting room, ten minutes before you get there. Have you had your measles immunity checked lately?

    • Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      I think this is one of those few cases when Godwin’s law does not apply.

      Please remember that one of the most abhorred villains of human history applied a very similar rule. Only one of the words was slightly different. We all know how that turned out.

  13. bonetired
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Hmmm … been doing a bit of digging in the medical register.

    I can’t guarantee that this is the doctor but it looks correct.

    Doctor Details
    Results of search on: 18 Dec 2013 at 18:13:33. The details shown are valid at the date and time of the search only.
    GMC Reference Number
    1404791
    Given Names
    Abdul
    Surname
    Majid
    Gender
    Man
    Status
    Not Registered – Administrative Reason

  14. Alex Shuffell
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    There is a video of Dr. Katme here. It is a 1.30 rant about abortion. At the start (after saying we all follow Satan) he introduces himself as a retired psychiatrist. Good news that he is not working anymore.

    http://www.4thought.tv/themes/should-you-ever-change-your-religious-beliefs-to-keep-up-with-the-law/dr-a-majid-katme

    • Dave
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      A retired psychiatrist? I think the good doctor needs to be referred to a practising one.

    • Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Evil.

      And he clearly doesn’t give a damn about the sanctity of life, young or old; else he’d be on the front lines, needle in hand, sanctifying life with the purity of a disease-free future that only vaccination can bring.

      b&

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      This guy shouldn’t be allowed to be a doctor.

    • Alex Shuffell
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Dr. Katme is not against all vaccinations. He once said “lesbianism is spreading like fire in society. We must vaccinate our children against this curse.”

      source: http://www.lolapress.org/elec2/artenglish/heli_e.htm

      • Diane G.
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Maybe that’s why they marry them off at 12 or thereabouts.

        • Posted March 2, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

          Unless you’re the prophet Muhammed, then you marry a 5 or 6 yo and rape them at 9. That’s the leader of Islam for you.

  15. Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Uh… where did this guy get his medical degree? Apparently he missed out on the science part.

  16. bonetired
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    The good news is this:

    “This person is not on the Medical Register and may not practise as a doctor in the UK”

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Oh that is good news.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Oh that is good news.

    • Jiten
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      But he’s still free to spread misinformation. Dangerous. Force for evil.

  17. Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    This religiously motivated anti-vaccine stance created huge problems in the Polio eradication programs in India and Pakistan: I heard of cases in India where Muslim families in rural areas chased away vaccination volunteers telling them the vaccines contained poisons and were designed to stunt the growth of their children.

    In an uncharacteristic show of creativity, the state and central governments responded by re-branding the vaccine as “Two drops of life” (while exhorting religious leaders to dispel the rumors). An extensive media campaign followed and was pervasive to the point where parents could be heard telling others they were going to have their children take “two drops of life”. The campaign worked wonders and India has now officially been free of polio cases for the last few years (even before that cases were limited mostly to Uttar Pradesh which had seen most of the religiously motivated opposition to the vaccine). The Pakistani program though still seems to be facing the same problems in the rural areas.

  18. Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure that Dr Abdul Majid Katme deserves to be described as a ‘prominent Muslim doctor.’ The Islamic Medical Association appears to be a one man band and undoubtedly he is a publicity seeking nutter but suspect (hope) that his ridiculous views are not shared by many in the UK Muslim community. I live in the UK and am not aware of any resistance to vaccines amongst Muslims.

    • Posted March 2, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps you haven’t been paying attention to the anti-polio vaccination movement in Nigeria, Syria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan? The only reason why polio still exists in the world is because of “Muslim Extremists”. If you aren’t aware of “any” resistance than you didn’t read the above article. Clearly there is “some” resistance in the Muslim community, and by an educated man.

  19. Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Not all objections to vaccination programs stem from religious belief (my personal experience anecdotally leads me to say it is a major factor in some countries like Pakistan, but a relatively minor contributor to lower vaccination rates in western Europe and North America).

    Resistance stems from irrational thought (of which religion is a subset), fueled by quacks like Andrew Wakefield and propagandists like Neil Z. Miller, who wrote a very misleading booked entitled Vaccine Safety Manual.

    • tomh
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Not all objections to vaccination programs stem from religious belief

      Not all, perhaps, but most are, at least in the US. And, in most states, the only way to avoid vaccinations for your children, if you want to send them to public school, is to use the religious exemption, available in 48 states. So religion, and the exemptions they have managed to push into mandatory vaccination requirements for schools, is certainly at the center of declining vaccination rates in the US.

      • Posted December 19, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        I know of many people in the US who are anti-vaccination for irrational but non-religious reasons who use the religious exemption because it is the only option open to them. This distorts the statistics significantly. (Again, my knowledge is anecdotal.)

        Of course, this highlights the absurdity of having a legal recourse open to the faithful that is not available to non-believers.

  20. Surangika Senanayake
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    First of all, he must prove his allegations. If he cannot bring proof then there no point in making a noise about it. Secondly, now that he is vaccinated and healthy, it is quite all right. He doesn’t want others to have it. It is selfish and inconsiderate; he should be struck off the list or should go back to his own county and preach these stupidity to the illiterate of his country of origin. It’ll at least result in reducing the illiterate in this world.

  21. madscientist
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    This is typical of these delusional twats who like to make shit up – they won’t believe what’s true but they have no problems believing all sorts of outrageous nonsense.

  22. Leigh Jackson
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Bible-thumping demagogue; antivivisection, anti-vaccination, anti-carnivoration; Walter Hadwen’s meme descendants encompass all manner of religiosity.

  23. moarscienceplz
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    “pus from sores of diseased animals?”

    I think this is a misunderstanding (yeah, I know, hard to believe) of the original vaccination. In 1796, Edward Jenner took pus from a lesion on the hand of a milkmaid infected with cowpox and inoculated the 8 year old son of his gardener. Later, he deliberately infected the boy with smallpox to prove he was now immune.

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      That’s risky business. Good thing it worked.

      • Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        Not so risky as you might imagine. Jenner had already observed that the milkmaids who had first gotten cowpox didn’t contract smallpox.

        It wouldn’t make it past an institutional review board today, of course…but, then again, we also don’t have a smallpox epidemic with no clue of how to stop it.

        b&


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