Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


International Studies

First Advisor

Minju Kwon

Second Advisor

Jared Rubin

Third Advisor

Deepa Badrinarayana


The utilization of human stem cells emerged recently in the Muslim world as one of the essential valuable areas of medicine for their vital role in developing regenerative medicine and treating chronic and incurable diseases. Existing studies indicate that most human stem cell researchers rely on varying schools of thought in Islamic law or on an individual base to define legitimate practices. From a policy perspective, the different Islamic religious decrees do not constitute a unified legal framework to promote essential international collaborations. The existing literature exhibits a limitation in comprehensive studies on human stem cell research (HSCR) in the newly joined countries of the Muslim world regarding HSCR policy variation. This comparative research provides for the first time cross-country comparisons of the top HSCR Muslim countries pertaining to their religious sect and affiliation and HSCR national policies. A second research contribution is in surveying the legal position of the Muslim countries on legal clinical abortion to learn about its related-legal framework and inform policy consistency on HSCR. The case-based study of the influence of the religious background of the top Muslim countries on the legal position of HSCR components shows that HSCR is permissible in Islam and is independent of the sect or affiliation as a barrier to a permissive policy. However, the case-based study of abortion laws and the legal position from HSCR components show that the "restrictive" policies in the Muslim countries prohibiting embryonic stem cell research are inconsistent with Islamic abortion laws and embryo’s graduality view that rely on the same subject matter, the embryo's moral status. These findings emphasize that the variation in HSCR policies is not embedded in the Islamic theological or philosophical reasoning but in other socio-cultural, economic, or political issues. Revisions of restrictive policies and the constructive debates among Muslim countries on the existing Islamic policy models are devised to bridge all the policy variations, clear all uncertainties, and help reach a harmonized consensus on HSCR.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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