Monday, 15 Sep, 2008 Offbeat
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Parents, Who Refused Medical Treatment for Their Sick Baby, Arrested, Baby Seized

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Police managed to arrest a couple who refused medical treatment for their scrawny baby because of religious reasons.

According to Globe and Mail, everything started at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto on September 10 when mother took her 9-month-old son. The hospital doctors determined that the boy was malnourished because he weighted only 11 pounds, which is close to the weight of a newborn.

After the woman refused to hand over the child officials decided to take the parents into custody and send the child to hospital. The couple's unpredictable behavior for the first time made headlines throughout Toronto last week, when police announced they were looking for the woman and her baby. However, the shocking scope of the whole story became clear only recently.

After the second confrontation of the two with the hospital staff, police discovered that both, baby's mother and father belong to a religious sect that denies institutionalized medicine, claiming that government agents do not have any authority over the sect's members.

"She's not an evil person and she's not a bad mother," explained the sect's spiritual leader who calls himself Grand Sheik Brother Kudjo Sut Tekh El, when he waited outside a police station for the two to be arrested. Police officials stated that they look forward to lay obstruction charges against the couple.

According to Mr. Sut Tekh El, the couple's child was skinny because he had eczema and severe food allergies. Nevertheless, he said: "we have the rights as Moorish-Americans not to succumb to institutionalized ways of healing ourselves." He said that all of the sect's members try keep away from hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs. They all opt for natural remedies for all illnesses, even cancer.

Mr. Sut Tekh El stated that Canadian government has no authority over Moorish-Americans, which is why the baby should not have been taken by the Children's Aid Society. "It basically infringes on his nationality," he added.

Last week mother, who has been in the sect for about a year, took he baby to the hospital after she was advised by a naturopathic doctor to do so. The hospital staff raised serious concerns over the child's malnutrition.

"The hospital said they were going to take her baby," Mr. Sut Tekh El said. But the woman took her child and fled. Shortly after than the hospital officials called the police. Yesterday, the couple came back to Sick Kids. However, they refused to hand over the child. Both police and hospital staff urged the woman to give the child. The problem was solved a couple of hours later with police arresting the couple.

Children's Aid Society seized the 9-month-old baby together with another child of the couple and a toddler. According to the police the baby is not in severe condition now.

Source:: Globe and Mail

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