Muslims say population conference is sinful

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The Independent Online
A GROUP of leading British Muslims is demanding that a high- powered United Nations conference on population growth should be cancelled, one week before it is due to open in Cairo. Failing that, they want all Islamic nations to boycott the event.

It claims that the draft text on which the conference is to negotiate encourages abortion, sex outside marriage and contraception, all of which are sinful.

'The secular West has no right to impose its own failing culture, which contradicts many of the teachings of Islam, on the Muslims of the world,' says the declaration from 52 Muslim teachers, Imams and heads of societies.

Religious leaders in several Muslim countries are protesting against the conference, while Pope John Paul is also determined to keep out any sections of the text which could be seen as encouraging abortion and promiscuity.

Dr Majid Katme, a psychiatrist who heads the Islamic Medical Association and is the organiser of the British Islamic protest, said Muslims should make common cause with any other religious people opposing the aims and text of the UN conference. According to the declaration, UN 'experts' want to delay the marriageable age while providing sex 'education' and contraceptives to adolescents, married or single; in the bright, new scenario they foresee, abortion on demand will be but another contraceptive option. Such proposals 'will lead to the enslavement of women as safe-sex objects, to be used and, in turn, use others for self-gratification'.

The draft text has taken over a year to negotiate and has support from most countries. It aims to achieve a global consensus on the need to slow dangerously rapid population growth by offering parents, and especially women, better health care, education and more choice in determining the number of their children. It does not support abortion but is intended to encourage alternatives to back- street abortions.