The Ethics of Embryonic Stem Cell Research in Turkey: Exploring the Moral Reasoning of Muslim Scholars

Karakaya A.

in: The Matrix of Stem Cell Research, An Approach to Rethinking Science in Society, Christine Hauskeller,Arne Manzeschke,Anja Pichl, Editor, Routledge, London/New York , London, pp.170-186, 2019

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Publisher: Routledge, London/New York 
  • City: London
  • Page Numbers: pp.170-186
  • Editors: Christine Hauskeller,Arne Manzeschke,Anja Pichl, Editor


Human life is respected both in secular and religious terms. However, when a human life begins, when an embryo becomes a human and/or per-son, is not an easy question to answer. The very ambiguity of the biologi-cal process translates itself into a series of ambiguities in the moral area. This is especially true for a subject matter such as human embryonic stem cells that promise a wide array of possibilities concerning human health, while the related research poses grave moral questions. This paper, in the first part, discusses the moral status of the embryo from Islamic-religious perspectives. In the second part, based on previously conducted qual-itative research, the paper reveals ethical positions of Muslim scholars living in Turkey and the normative religious principles on which Turk-ish Muslim scholars base their positions regarding embryonic stem cell research. Despite the heterogeneity of the normative religious princi-ples presented, three normative religious principles, including benefits (
) and harm (
), general rule 
) and exemption (
), and inviolability (
), stand out amongst the others.