Rise of euthanasia undermines belief all lives deserve protection

The following article was published in The Toronto Star, on August 18th, 2023.

I believe that the acceptance of euthanasia undermines the intrinsic belief that all lives are inherently valuable and deserving of protection.

Undoubtedly, euthanasia offers comfort and relief to patients suffering from intense pain and agony. But are we, intentionally or not, steering our society toward a harmful path?

Euthanasia refers to the deliberate act of hastening an individual’s death to relieve them from incurable pain or poor quality of life. Notably, in recent years, euthanasia has gained increasing acceptance and adoption in a number of Western countries.

People who doubt the advantages of euthanasia have various reasons for doing so. Some critics, particularly those who approach the issue from a religious standpoint, believe that the negative consequences of euthanasia are greater than the positive ones.

For example, I serve as an Imam for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at in Ottawa. As more and more people are influenced by this growing trend, it has prompted numerous questions and sparked discussions among our members revolving around its ethical and moral implications.

I believe that the drawbacks of this process outweigh the benefits. As a society, our focus should be on finding alternative ways to alleviate pain, offer comfort, and reduce suffering for patients, rather than choosing to end their lives.

A key principle of an advancing society is rooted in hope and the ability to navigate challenges. This vital attitude is ingrained even in our roles as parents, as we impart to our children the importance of perseverance and the refusal to surrender when confronted with adversity. We encourage them to persist and strive until they uncover solutions. This rigid determination to conquer any obstacle, no matter how formidable, is a pivotal driver of progress.

In my opinion, the rise of euthanasia within our societal fabric promotes a sense of despondency. It conveys a message of embracing one’s circumstances instead of actively pursuing avenues for enhancement. Our society already grapples with the issue of suicides, often driven by a perceived absence of hope or avenues for betterment. Embracing such attitudes, I believe, is likely to worsen these issues further.

Secondly, the profound bond between parents and their children is a universal sentiment of human beings. As parents age, their children dedicate themselves to ensuring their parents’ well-being and comfort. This mutual care and devotion are highly esteemed values within our society. It has long been established as a societal standard that parents nurture their children with care and children selflessly care for their aging parents.

In my perspective, the normalization of euthanasia erodes this cherished norm of responsibility toward elderly parents, introducing an entirely different approach to providing solace. As the acceptance of euthanasia expands, I am concerned that, even unconsciously, parents might increasingly perceive themselves as burdens on their children, thus altering the dynamics of this wonderful bond.

Thirdly, euthanasia stands as a stark departure from the core principle that underscores the sacredness and sanctity of every human life. This principle, deeply rooted in ethical, religious, and societal foundations, asserts the inherent worth of each human existence. When we condone the act of one human being ending the life of another, even in the name of mercy, we risk diluting the sanctity that has long been revered. It introduces the notion that the worth of life can be conditional upon situational assessments.

Thus, I believe that the acceptance of euthanasia undermines the intrinsic belief that all lives are inherently valuable and deserving of protection. This erosion has the potential to dampen our ability to advocate for the welfare of fellow humans, to extend compassion and assistance to the ailing, and to uphold the sanctity of life in all its forms.

Hence, I am convinced that we must seek alternative avenues rather than intentionally terminating lives as a means to alleviate suffering. While I acknowledge the well-intentioned motives of proponents advocating for compassionate euthanasia, I am concerned that this trajectory might steer our society toward a potentially harmful course in the years and decades ahead.

Luqman Ahmed is an Imam (Religious Missionary) with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Ottawa, currently working in Baitun Naseer Mosque in Cumberland, Ont.



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