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ss triple helix - Easter 2009,  Caring for Muslim Patients

Caring for Muslim Patients

Caring for Muslim Patients (2nd edition)
Aziz Sheikh and Abdul Rahid Gatrad (Eds)
Radcliffe Publishing 2007
£24.95 ; Pb 156pp
ISBN 1 85775 812 9

The book explores 'what it means to belong to a sacred tradition, explore the intricate connection between faith and health for Muslims and consider some of the implications of this relationship for those striving to deliver culturally competent and sensitive heath care'. The life of the Prophet Muhammad and the devotion he inspires, Islamic thought on healthcare and bioethics, and attitudes to death and family life are described. There is a useful chapter on managing the fasting patient.

The book is academic and draws on classic Islamic sources. This does not help us understand the many British Muslims from non-Arab cultures who combine Islam with pre-Islamic occult beliefs. Vignettes to introduce the reader to 'real' Muslims are generally too short to cover in depth issues raised.

There are several omissions. The chapter on family life does not mention polygamy or arranged marriages. Discussion of the different male and female worlds in Muslim society is limited. Tips on negotiating a consultation with a woman in a hijab would have been helpful.

Cross-cultural work is always demanding and difficult. Unfortunately, the book gives no hint of the rewards, joy and fun of working in a Muslim community.

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