A specialist Muslim surgeon is leading a campaign to encourage more members of the Asian community to become organ donors.

This weekend Aiman Alzetani will be on a bus touring Coventry trying to reassure Muslims that donation does not contradict their religious beliefs or traditions.

There is a chronic shortage of Asian donors, which means patients from these communities can wait three or four times longer for a live-saving transplant.

More than 12.3 million people in Britain are on the National Organ Register but only 28,000 of those are Asian.

Medics from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Edgbaston - which is the largest solid organ transplant centre in Europe - will take the Organ Donor Bus to temples, Sikh gudwaras and mosques in Coventry.

South Asian communities face a higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, all of which can lead to serious cardiac and renal conditions.

Mr Alzetani, a heart and lung retrieval surgeon, said the region's Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus should realise becoming an organ donor is "the ultimate act of charity."

He said: "I would not practice this profession if I did not believe it is right according to my faith.

"There are many misconceptions about organ donation and transplants.

"Organ donation is the ultimate act of charity, it doesn't just benefit one person - organs taken from one person can save five or more lives.

"In Islam if a person performs a charitable act, even if it's giving someone food and drink, we are told we will be rewarded. So giving people the gift of life is certain to be rewarded."

At present 4,143 people in Britain are waiting for a kidney transplant, of which 763 are Asian.

The average wait for a donor kidney is 722 days, but Asian patients have to wait twice as long - 1,496 days - due to the lack of ethnic donors.

Mr Alzetani, himself a registered donor, said: "A good heart from a Caucasian, Christian man will do the same job in the body of an Asian, Muslim man.

"I see no difference between the creed and colour of the people we're trying to save."

Speaking after yesterday's terror attacks in London, he added: "I fight to save people's lives every day, but when I see how easy it is for people to destroy lives like today, it breaks my heart.

"As a doctor, as a Muslim, as a human being I find it appalling people can do this when others are trying to bring the gift of life to others."

Sikh, Muslim and Hindu families refuse organ donation for a variety of reasons, according to the team of transplant co- ordinators based at the QE Hospital.

Staff have undertaken pioneering work with religious leaders of the main Asian faiths to establish their positions on organ donation.

Transplant co-ordinator Cathy Miller said: "There is sometimes concern among Muslims that donation will lead to a delay in the burial of the body. There are also more general concerns among the Asian communities about what will happen to the body.

"At the same time, NHS staff are sometimes reluctant to approach Asian families about donation and assume that the answer will be no. There is a need to raise awareness everywhere - in the NHS as well as Asian communities."