Religious leaders have issued a joint warning that plans to allow assisted dying in Scotland “would mean that our society as a whole loses its common humanity”.

A meeting will be held by faith leaders at Holyrood today where they will voice their opposition to the Scottish Parliament proposals.

Scottish LibDems MSP Liam McArthur’s Member’s Bill would allow competent terminally ill adults to request assistance to end their lives.

Last year, Mr McArthur won the right to introduce his Bill to Parliament and it is currently being drafted, with a final text planned for later this year.

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He has said the public are behind the proposals to offer people more choice at the end of their life and the Bill will be “safe, robust, and compassionate”.

But leaders from the Church of Scotland, the Catholic Church and the Scottish Association of Mosques will speak in opposition to the plans at an event in the Scottish Parliament.

They have issued a joint statement on the issue, signed by Kirk moderator Rev Iain Greenshields, Bishop of Paisley John Keenan and Imam Sheykh Hamza Khandwalla of Dundee Central Mosque.

The statement said: “This Bill would make it legal, in certain circumstances, to help people to commit suicide.

“Our faith traditions are united in the principle that assisted dying in itself inevitably undermines the dignity of the human person, and to allow it would mean that our society as a whole loses its common humanity.

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“The Church of Scotland, the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, and the Scottish Association of Mosques remain firm in their opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia.”

The faith leaders emphasised the sanctity placed upon life in their respective religious traditions.

Rev Greenshields said: “Our opposition to assisted dying is based on our Christian faith, and involves concerns around the principle of assisted dying, around the application of the law in practice, the perception of the value of human lives, and also the effect which any change is likely to have on the provision of care – in particular, on palliative care.”

Bishop Keenan added: “Assisted suicide attacks human dignity and results in human life being increasingly valued on the basis of its efficiency and utility.”

Imam Khandwalla said: “Muslims believe life is a divine gift and is given as a sacred trust.

“As such, we have a collective responsibility to protect the most vulnerable, including the elderly and the terminally ill.”

Mr McArthur responded to the faith leaders’ claims by saying there is an “unequivocal” need for the law to change.

He said: “The assisted dying Bill that I have proposed to the Scottish Parliament would offer a more compassionate choice to terminally ill, mentally competent adults only, subject to strict safeguards and alongside high-quality end-of-life care.

“It draws on 25 years’ of evidence from the US, and now Australia and New Zealand, which proves that when a tightly-drafted law for terminally ill people is introduced, it remains that way, with no extension of the eligibility criteria.

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“Furthermore, it offers far more protection, transparency and regulation than the status quo.

“We know that, too often, terminally ill Scots facing a bad death are forced to resort to desperate measures – some going to Switzerland if they can afford it, many more taking matters into their own hands behind closed doors.

“That cannot be right and we must do better.”

Chief executive of Humanist Society Scotland, Fraser Sutherland, stressed that “there is significant support for an assisted dying right amongst individual people of faith”.

He added: "It is important to recognise that the proposed bill by Liam McArthur would allow terminally ill people access to an assisted death should they choose it.

“The Bill is about giving people the right and choice to control their own deaths in a way to minimise suffering. Equally it will protect and respect the choices of individuals who do not wish to access a medically assisted death and provide a right to conscientious objection for medical practitioners.

"The question arising from this event for MSPs and wider society is why the views of three senior clerics should take precedence and block the rights of others to a choice that meets their beliefs on life and death in their final hours."