15.03.2005 Regional News

Family Planning lawful under Islam - Experts

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From Eunice Menka, GNA Special Correspondent, Abuja

Abuja, March 15, GNA - Alhaji Mahmoud Diop Barham, a member of the Network of Islam and Population in Senegal, has said that under Islamic religion, family planning was lawful.

He said the future of Islam did not rest more on the on the number of children one had but rather on the quality of the life of the children. He was speaking at an African Regional Conference on Islam and the Family Well-being, which opened in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Monday.

Imams, Oulemas, Islamic scholars and religious leaders are attending the conference, being organised by the UNFPA. Some 125 delegates from all over the continent are attending the meeting.

According to Alhaji Barham, moslems should not resort to contraception unless they were very sure of the need to go in for it or if their situation required them to opt for contraception. He said: " what is legally permitted is the reversible contraception, in order to space child birth."

Dr. Ezz Eldin Elsawy, Vice President of the Al Azhar Univerisity in Egypt, said under Islam abortion was unlawful except it was neccessary for medical reasons or if an expectant mother's life was in danger. He said sterilisatioin was also not allowed in the religion. According to Dr Elsawy, family planning offered couples a chance to take care of their families without going through the stress of financial pressure.

He said Egypt had over the years experienced a low population growth and its total fertility rates had dropped from 5.3 in 1980 to 3.2 in 2004, as a result of family planning.

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