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Burning Medical Book By Advocate of 'Islamic Medicine" Causes Outrage In Iran


Abbas Tabrizian, called the "Father of Islamic Medicine" by his followers, burned Harrison's Manual of Medicine in a ceremony in Qom recently. FILE PHOTO

In a statement on Saturday, the Management Center of Iranian Seminaries condemned a cleric who was shown in a video burning Harrison's Manual of Medicine claiming that "Islamic medicine" has made such books "irrelevant".

A Video of the book-burning went viral on Thursday and many outraged social media users very strongly reacted to it. Since then several prominent clerics, as well as officials of the Health Ministry, have also condemned the act and a member of the Iranian Parliament's Cultural Committee, Fatemeh Zolghadr, has suggested that the matter be referred to the Special Court for Clergy.

The cleric named Abbas Tabrizian whose followers use the title of Ayatollah to refer to him advocates treating patients on the basis of Islamic medical tradition, particularly the many sayings of the Prophet and Shiite Imams preserved in books about them since the early Islamic times.

The son of Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi who was once named as a possible successor to the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader, recently said his father died because he trusted Islamic medicine and the so-called Islamic physicians.

Ala Hashemi Shahroudi had said, "The so-called Islamic doctors had convinced my father to ignore what modern physicians said about his illness and how to treat it."

Tabrizian who lives in Qom, the city of seminaries and the religious capital of Iran, has written several books on the so-called "Islamic Medicine" and runs a Islamic Medicine Center. Herbal and natural medicine, as well as other products such as "Islamic toothbrush", "Islamic soap", Sormeh (eyeliner made from natural products), and even "Islamic ink" in various colors, are on offer for sale on the website of the Islamic Medicine Center.

In its statement the seminary management body said the Iranian seminaries condemn the "obscene and ignorant" act of burning [Harrison's Textbook of Medicine which is] one of the major medical texts.

While dissociating seminaries from the incident the statement said the Iranian seminaries and its prominent figures have always encouraged science and called on the "relevant authorities to take action" in the matter.

Drawing a parallel with Alexander the Great's torching of the Library of Alexandria, the burning of books by Moguls and Nazis and other historical instances Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi had earlier on Friday condemned the burning of the book which has been translated into Persian and is one of the major textbooks taught in Iranian medical schools.

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