Monday, November 8, 2010

Could This Happen Anywhere?

From the Saudi Gazette
Girl killed by electric shock in holy treatment
November 9, 2010

BURAIDAH: Al-Qassim Region Police have arrested a Raqi, a man who treats people by recitation of the Holy Qur’an, for causing the death of a girl by giving her electric shocks to treat her psychiatric illness, authorities said.

Lt. Col. Fahd Al-Habdan, spokesman of Al-Qassim Region Police, said, “The girl’s family requested the Raqi’s help to treat their daughter and he used electric shocks, alleging that this would help her, but she died during to this treatment.”

The 50-year-old man Raqi, whose name was not released, was taken into police custody for investigation.

Since last August the man had subjected the girl to electric shocks, in the presence of her parents, in the district’s mosque, a source said. The parents did not object to the ‘harsh’ treatment.

Saleh Al-Debaibi, a lawyer, said the Raqi must be punished for his crime and for claiming to have the ability to treat people by giving them electric shocks.

The Raqi was supposed to treat people by reciting verses of the Holy Qur’an only as instructed by the Prophet’s Sunnah, he said.

Al-Debaibi called for a law, to be supervised by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, to address the work of the Ruqaat so there is a clear distinction between a patient’s need for the Islamic Ruqya or psychiatric treatment. The law would prevent people treating others from resorting to methods not within their domain, which can kill people, he added.

Al-Debaibi stressed the importance of enlightening people about psychiatric matters and the institutions licensed to treat them.

Police also warned against unlicensed practitioners of Ruqya claiming to treat people. They would only start meddling with patient’s bodies without a Shariah, legal and health justification, the police spokesman added.

- Okaz/Saudi Gazette -

Another story, this one from The New York Times.  When the only way out is burning yourself to death...
For Afghan Wives, a Desperate, Fiery Way Out
Published: November 7, 2010

HERAT, Afghanistan — Even the poorest families in Afghanistan have matches and cooking fuel. The combination usually sustains life. But it also can be the makings of a horrifying escape: from poverty, from forced marriages, from the abuse and despondency that can be the fate of Afghan women.

The night before she burned herself, Gul Zada took her children to her sister’s for a family party. All seemed well. Later it emerged that she had not brought a present, and a relative had chided her for it, said her son Juma Gul.

This small thing apparently broke her. Ms. Zada, who was 45, the mother of six children and who earned pitiably little cleaning houses, ended up with burns on nearly 60 percent of her body at the Herat burn hospital. Survival is difficult even at 40 percent.

“She was burned from head to toe,” her son remembers.

The hospital here is the only medical center in Afghanistan that specifically treats victims of burning, a common form of suicide in this region, partly because the tools to do it are so readily available. Through early October, 75 women arrived with burns — most self-inflicted, others only made to look that way. That is up nearly 30 percent from last year.

But the numbers say less than the stories of the patients.

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