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Muslims fined for refusing male doctor at childbirth

Published on June 11, 2008

11 June 2008

LYON – A French Muslim couple who sued a hospital after their son was born heavily handicapped were instead fined EUR 1,000 on Tuesday for refusing the presence of a male doctor during labour.

Mohammed Ijjou was born severely handicapped on 8 November 1998 as a result of neurological complications during birth.

According to the appeal court ruling, his father Radouane Ijjou physically barred a male intern from entering his wife’s room for half an hour, citing religious reasons, after a midwife asked for help with the labour.

The court in Lyon ruled that "the child’s condition is totally due to the attitude of Radouane Ijjou" and that the couple could not hold the hospital responsible.

It said the father’s attitude had prevented the hospital from carrying out tests that could have prevented the complications.

"This is a very hard decision. This child is being told he has no one to blame but his parents," said the couple’s lawyer Isabelle Damiano.

The couple, whose request for damages was rejected once before in May 2006, were seeking EUR 100,000 in damages from the hospital in Bourg-en-Bresse in eastern France.

[AFP / Expatica]