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George Muishout, ASH PhD candidate, will defend the dissertation entitled 'Muslims and palliative care in a Western context. An exploratory qualitative investigation' supervised by Prof. Gerard Wiegers and Prof. Hanneke van Laarhoven.

Event details of PhD defense: George Muishout
2 May 2023


This thesis focuses on the role of religion in palliative settings involving Muslim doctors or religious professionals and Muslim patients and their relatives. It seeks to answer the question how religion shapes Muslim attitudes in medical decision-making in palliative care in the Netherlands. The thesis demonstrates that in classical Islamic discourse, medical treatment may be withheld or terminated in the case of incurable illness, while modern Islamic discourse tends to put great emphasis on prolonging life through maximum treatment. The results of the empirical part of the thesis suggest that the professional practice of Turkish imams and Muslim doctors regarding palliative decision making are embedded in the religious and medical institutions they represent and cater to the demands that are part of their jobs within these institutions. The thesis demonstrates that Muslim doctors take a comfort-oriented approach aimed at preventing suffering from pain, which for some of them conflicts with their personal religious beliefs. Turkish imams predominately advocate for maximum treatment in their advice regarding medical decision-making to their congregants, for the conviction that all Muslims involved will be held accountable by God for questioning His omnipotence. Together the results create the picture of a healthcare environment in which medical practice and religious beliefs are rather at odds.


Oudezijds Voorburgwal 229 - 231
1012 EZ Amsterdam