Deluded French Muslim charged with starving children

16th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

A French Muslim was charged with starving and beating his eight children because he believed it would make them good Muslims.

PERPIGNAN – A delusional French father has been charged with starving and beating his eight children in the belief that it would make them good Muslims, officials said Wednesday.

Police were alerted after a neighbour spotted one of the children, a boy of 13 who weighed just 32 kilograms (70 pounds), foraging in bins for food in the Mediterranean town of Banyuls-sur-Mer.

"The teenager was painfully thin, shivering, with bloody marks on his face, bare feet and sores. He said he had been beaten for stealing a handful of sugar," said local prosecutor Jean-Pierre Dreno.

Searching the family apartment on Saturday police found seven other children, aged seven to 17, in a state of hunger and neglect, including two girls, aged 13 and 15, who each weighed just 22kg.

The boy and two sisters have been hospitalised and the other siblings taken into care, while their parents have been detained on charges of depriving their children of food, and physical abuse.

The father, a market worker of Moroccan origin, and his wife, an east European Muslim convert, told police they sought to raise their family in strict obedience to Islam, which they said included going without food.

There were no food supplies in the flat and the eldest girls had been taken out of class because of a French law banning headscarfs in public schools.

"The parents explained that they practised their religion scrupulously, and with a very strict diet," said the prosecutor.

The 49-year-old father told investigators he had beaten his son to cure him "because he was possessed by lies."

"We are dealing with a delusional person, this is a cult-like situation," Dreno said. "This went way beyond any kind of religious practice, however rigorous."

Commenting on the case, the Paris Mosque said the father was clearly deluded in his interpretation of Islam, stressing that even during the fasting month of Ramadan, children are exempt, along with pregnant women and the elderly.

AFP / Expatica

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