A doctor working at a hospital in Saudi Arabia has been shot for helping a woman deliver a baby.
Jordanian obstetrician Dr Mohannad al-Zubn helped a Saudi woman give birth at the King Fahad Medical City in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, last month.
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The new father went to the hospital, saying he wanted to thank the doctor – but, after meeting him outside in the garden, withdrew a concealed gun and shot him at close range.
The unnamed attacker was reported to have carried out the shooting because he did not believe a man should have helped his wife give birth.
“The husband came to the hospital looking for the doctor and shot him in the chest in an attempt to kill him for helping his wife deliver a baby, ” said a hospital spokesperson.
Zubn is said to be recovering in hospital from the blast, and his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
The assailant fled the scene, but was swiftly picked up by police.
Although many Saudi Twitter users condemned the attack, there were also some who supported the attacker – saying a female physician should have treated the pregnant woman.
Saudi Arabia has strict laws governing gender segregation in public places.
“The mixing of men and women in hospitals and other places leads to corruption and vices such as exchanging looks”
In 2011, more than 100 doctors and religious leaders wrote to the ministry of health urging them to build women-only hospitals.
A Saudi woman started a Facebook group named “Pure Hospitals”, a campaign for hospitals where all staff – from surgeons to cleaners – were women.
“The mixing of men and women in hospitals and other places leads to corruption and vices such as exchanging looks, breakdowns in barriers between men and women, and unethical relationships forbidden in Islam, ” Arab News reported the woman as saying.
Male doctors in Saudi hospitals can only legally treat women in extreme circumstances, and then only with the presence of a male guardian.
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has issued orders that women cannot visit clinics without a male member of their family acting as a guardian.
“Islamic law does not permit women to visit their doctors without male guardians, ” said Qais al-Mubarak, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars. “Women are prohibited from exposing body parts to male doctors in Islamic law, especially during childbirth. This does not include medical emergencies. Islamic jurisprudence makes exceptions.”
In 2014, the ministry of health issued a directive to all hospital and health centres with new guidelines for male doctors.
They said that male medical workers could only examine members of the opposite sex if a woman nurse were also present.
This story was first published at Al Araby