Case of Tafida Raqeeb – Press Release

The High Court of Justice agrees with the Islamic Council of Europe on the sanctity of life

In July 2019 the Islamic Council of Europe received a request for an Islamic verdict from the parents of Tafida Raqeeb on the question of agreeing to the removal of a life-supporting machine or the requirement of pursuing of treatments to prolong the life of their child.

The Islamic Council of Europe ruled in this case that ‘it is absolutely impermissible for the parents, or anyone else, to give consent for the removal of the life-supporting machine from their child mentioned’.

The parents’ request to move Tafida to Gaslini Hospital in Italy for further treatment was refused by the Barts NHS Foundation Trust. Tafida’s representative and her parents took the matter to the High Court of Justice.

The Council is extremely happy that the Honourable Mr. Justice Macdonald of the High Court of Justice found in favour of Tafida and her parents in recognising that ‘the sanctity of life is a fundamental, indeed sacred, principle from which there flows a strong presumption in favour of a course of action that will prolong life’.

Justice Macdonald further explained that ‘Tafida’s life has inherent value’ and ‘It is also of value to Tafida herself, it is precious to her parents, sibling and family and even now it adds, in whatever small and incomplete way, to the body of collective human experience.

His Honour judged that the ‘rights of the parents and of Tafida to freedom of thought, conscience and religion fall for consideration in this case and in my judgment must be accorded weight in the balancing exercise in circumstances where the parents’ beliefs, which beliefs would have influenced Tafida, included the belief that to withdraw life sustaining treatment from Tafida would be a sin in circumstances where they believe that where the breath of life subsists so too the soul.’

The Judgment recognised that the ‘best interest tests; must be looked for in subjectively or high value laden ethical, moral and religious factors extrinsic to the child’, understanding that ‘each factor mean different things to different people on a diverse, multicultural, multifaith society’.

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