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Assisted death

Canon Chris Bard
13 April 2006

There are few areas where people of different faith are in agreement, but the sanctity of life seems to be one.

There are few areas where people of different faith are in agreement, but the sanctity of life seems to be one.

Faith leaders in Essex have shared a common platform to launch a positive campaign for supportive care for the dying.

Two bishops, the leader of the Muslim parliament, a rabbi and a Sikh made their point at a news conference in Brentwood Cathedral.

Their comments are against the background of doctor-assisted suicide promoted by the Assisted Dying Bill, which is before Parliament.

They are opposed to the Bill. The RC Bishop of Brentwood, the Right Rev Thomas McMahon, welcomed the other leaders and said they shared a common conviction that all life was sacred and only God should determine when it ended.

The Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Rev John Gladwin said that the possibility of assisted dying would damage trust in medical practitioners and divide the medical profession.

"People with terminal conditions are vulnerable, and should not be pressurised to end their own life," said Mr Harmander Singh of the Sikh community.

Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, leader of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain said: "Muslims believe that human beings should not interfere but provide all medical help to ensure people die as a natural course."

"With modern advances in palliative care, no one needs to die in pain today," said Revd Charles Masheder, a Trustee and former Chaplain of St Clare Hospice.

"Many people have little faith or no faith, but everyone in their lives has to go through difficult periods, challenging periods, and our experience is having gone through the night, there is the dawn afterwards.

"People diagnosed with serious illnesses go through periods of hopelessness and despair, but helped by a well funded hospice movement look back glad decision not to end their lives," said Rabbi David Hulbert from Redbridge.

The leaders held sunflowers to stress their support for the hospice movement and the need for more Government funding.

See press release (pdf file 10kb)




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