Tafida Raqeeb

A hospital in London has drawn criticism for saying that the Muslim family of a sick girl were not suitable to decide her fate.

The Royal London Hospital said on Wednesday (4) that the family of five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb were all of the “same faith” and there were unsuitable to act in the girl’s interest.

Tafida’s parents want to take her to an Italian hospital that is offering to care for the youngster. However, doctors at the Royal London Hospital believe it is in her best interest to die.

In the latest hearing, Barts NHS Trust’s QC Katie Gollop said: “The Trust is very aware that all members of the family believe as a matter of religious faith that continued treatment is right for Tafida – and what she would want for herself on religious grounds.”

She added this made “family members unsuitable” to act on behalf of Tafida.

Calling the statement highly offensive, barrister David Lock QC, representing Tafida’s parents, told the court: “However you dress it up, that is an outrageous allegation for a public body to make.

“The Trust is, in effect, inviting the court to bar all persons who are adherents to the Islamic faith from acting for their daughter.”

Tafida, from Newham, east London, is suffering from a rare condition that causes a tangle of blood vessels with abnormal connections between the arteries and veins.

According to reports, Tafida was examined by two Italian clinicians via video in July and they said they would be willing to care for Tafida. In Italy she would not satisfy the conditions of brain death.

Her mother, Shelina Begum, said she wants to explore all options to save Tafida.

“It is heartbreaking to see her like this and we just can’t give up on her if there is any chance she could survive,” she was quoted as saying by the BBC.

She states that Tafida was a healthy child before suffering a traumatic brain injury due to arteriovenous malformation (AVM).

Tafida’s fate will be decided following a five-day hearing next week.