10-Year-Old Girl Dies in Faith Healing

Algerians decry practice and media coverage
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2020 11:35 AM CDT
Algerian Girl, 10, Dies in Faith Healing
Police officers limit access under pandemic restrictions in downtown Algiers last week.   (AP Photo/Fateh Guidoum)

Algerians responded with anger online after the death of a 10-year-old girl during a faith healing. In announcing the arrest of a 28-year-old man in the case, the prosecutor said the girl apparently suffered "blows and burns," the Guardian reports. The victim "was abused during a ruqya (faith healing) to which she was subjected in her family home," the prosecutor said in Guelma, about 300 miles east of Algiers. She was taken to a hospital, per Barron's, where she died. The prosecutor announced that an autopsy will be conducted and an investigation begun.

A ruqya often is held to treat the sick, cure infertility or drive out a demon, but the prosecutor did not say why it was conducted in this case. Islam allows the ritual, which many warn can lead to abuse. On social media, Algerians spoke out against the ruqya and what they saw as a lack of news media coverage. "Are we going to pretend for a long time not to see ... the 10-year-old girl tortured and killed?" journalist Akram Kharief, director of the MENA Defense website, posted. (More faith healing stories.)

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