The staff of public health institutions also have to deal with growing Islamic demands from their patients, according to a report from Valeurs Actuelles.
A little over a month ago, in the open air, at a public hospital in Montpellier, one French onlooker described the scene at a hospital car park as something from North Africa.
“Hey, it’s like being in Marrakech,” said the wife of a patient in rehabilitation. Muslim faithful had prepared the iftar , the meal breaking the fast of Ramadan. On the short yellowed grass of the large Lapeyronie hospital roundabout, one of the establishments belonging to the University Hospital of Montpellier, loud chants and music were heard in Arabic and food was being prepared in the open.
An Arabic patient in his thirties had left his hospital bed to join his friends – in hospital pajamas, leaving his buttocks open – while dragging his infusion stand along with the saline-filled bottle.
Several Paris Public Hospitals (AP-HP) hospitals have had Muslim chaplaincy services since March 2010.
Abdelkhader Khali, head of the Muslim Chaplain Collective of AP-HP Hospitals told Saphirnews, that it was good news for the Muslim community, long in need of recognition at hospitals.
Among them, are those of Pitié-Salpêtrière, Necker-Enfants patients, Bichat and Beaujon.
As the average rate of Muslim patients – mostly from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa – could easily exceed 50 percent in some hospital services, such as endocrinology, cardiology, diabetology or pediatrics, the opening of these services had become essential.
This figure has in fact reached up to 80 percent in hospitals in the Paris region, like the Bichat hospital.
The chaplains were approved by Nabaoui Abdelhaq, the national Muslim chaplain of the hospitals of France (CFCM), and they currently officiate in about forty hospitals of the AP-HP.
The public institution pays for the chaplaincy, while regional or private hospitals use volunteers or associations to visit the sick.
“We ensure the visit to the sick at their request and those of their families to comfort them, to relieve them of their suffering. The function is very busy, we can be called in the middle of the night to accompany a dying brother or sister , ” added the official who officiates at Pitié-Salpêtrière and Necker.
Thus, at the time of the death of Muslim patients, the chaplains ensure that everything is done according to the principles of Islam.
“Secularism is not about state neutrality or tolerance,” the chaplaincy argues. Muslims demand that care be provided for their wives only by female doctors.