Stem cell debate in the Muslim world
Islam does not have a centralised authority - like the Vatican in Roman Catholicism - to state its position. Most Muslim countries have not yet introduced laws on embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.
Some Muslims are in favour of research, arguing that the embryo does not have a soul until the later stages of its development. Others agree with the Catholic Church which says that it is immoral to destroy embryos at any stage to harvest stem cells.
Egypt will not be the first predominately Muslim country to conduct stem cell research. In 2003 Iranian scientists developed human embryonic stem cell lines. Other Muslim groups and countries such as Turkey and the National Fatwa Council in Malaysia also support both embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning.
But many Muslim officials still fear the technology could be abused and that babies could be cloned and then killed to supply organs or 'spare parts' for other patien