Denmark: Prayer injuries a rising problemPrayer injuries a rising problem
Five times a day Amtul Jamil must kneel down and touch her forhead to the ground as a part of Muslim prayer. Two years ago, however, she began feeling smarts of pain running through her body like an electric current every time she placed her knees on the ground. Despite Jamil's 61 years and a diagnosis of degenerative arthritis, her general practicioner could not explain her pain. She first realised what was happening to her when her son, who is a doctor, pointed out to her the correlation between her pain and her prayer posture. Daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported that knee and back injuries caused or enhanced by Muslim prayer are relatively unknown in Denmark. Physical therapist Teddy Jacobsen said, however, that neither doctors nor Muslims themselves were aware of the correlation. 'Some injuries in the back and knee are directly linked to the prayer posture, while others are not allowed to heal because they are strained five times a day during prayer,' Jacobsen said, adding that on the positive side, prostrating yourself five times a day in prayer could in part substitute physical exercise. Jacobsen's interest in prayer injury was sparked in Dubai, where he worked for a year, meeting more than 50 patients suffering from physical pain made worse during prayer. Since returning home, he has met a number of Muslims suffering from similar pains. 'It's especially older people who get injuried from resting the weight of their bodies on their knees while they pray,' he said. Imran Rashid, doctor at the Herlev Hospital, said he agreed. 'Just like carpenters and tailors can get joint injuries from repeating the same movement throughout the day, Muslims can hurt themselves by repeatedly placing weight on the same joints,' he said. Amtul Jamid, along with five other women in her Mosque, now prays sitting in a chair to keep the pain at bay.
Councillor's Pakistani campaign criticised
Wallait Khan, a renegade councillor whose defection from the Liberal Party secured left-of-centre parties a dominating position in Copenhagen after last week's local elections, has raised eyebrows for pursuing a political career in Pakistan as well as Denmark. Khan was elected councillor for the Liberal Party in Copenhagen on Tuesday, only to defect two days later to join the Socialist People's Party. His decision allowed Social Democratic mayor-to-be Ritt Bjerregaard to form a coalition with the Socialists, the Red-Green Coalition Party, and the Social Liberal Party, leaving the Liberals and Conservatives out in the cold. But daily newspaper Politiken reported that not only had Khan been politically active in the Danish capital, but he had also been on the campaign trail in his old homeland, Pakistan, where he had spent a large part of the year trying to become mayor of a town there. 'We all wondered where he was. When we finally got into contact with him and asked him, he told us he was running for mayor in Pakistan,' said Liberal councillor Jesper Schou Hansen. 'We were a bit surprised.' Khan said the Liberal Party was attempting to avenge for his desertion with a smear campaign, but said it was true that he had been running for deputy mayor in a Pakistani town, but failed. 'If I had been elected there, I would of course have left the Copenhagen City Council,' Khan said. Khan, who is a Pakistani citizen but has resided long enough in Denmark to comply with laws allowing non-Danish residents to vote and run in local elections, said six people had been elected in Pakistan despite their Danish residencies. Khan named cabbies, slaughterhouse workers, and pizza chefs in Denmark who had been elected mayors and councillors in Pakistan. He, however, seems to be the only one running for office in both countries at once. 'We Pakistanis in Europe have a competition between ourselves,' he said. 'We in Denmark compete with Pakistanis living in Norway and England about who holds most mayor posts. I am proud every time a Danish one gets elected.'
Police suspect more honour slayings
Police have launched secret investigations into the fate of two young immigrant women, fearing that their relatives might have killed them for disobeying them and harming their families' honour. Daily newspaper BT reported that the police feared for the lives of two women who had disappeared without a trace. Their families had reported them missing, but told the police they had probably gone home to their countries of origin. Police spokesman, detective Kurt Kragh, said the explanation had aroused the police's suspicion. Earlier this fall, an 18-year-old Pakistani girl named Ghazala Abbas was murdered in broad daylight by her older brother a day after she married a young Afghani man, whom her family did not approve of. Many of the girl's relatives have been arrested for ordering, planning, and assisting in her slaying in order to protect the family's honour. 'We know from earlier cases that when girls like Ghazala ignore their families and run away from home because they fell in love with a man, there is a big risk in some families that the girl is tracked down and either sent to her country of origin to an uncertain fate or killed here in Denmark,' Kragh said.