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In the Name of God بسم الله

Mystery infections traced to blood-shedding religious ritual

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  • Veteran Member

Add self-flagellation to the list of ways to get a dangerous viral blood infection.

Researchers said Wednesday that they were initially puzzled how 10 British men had become infected with a little-known virus, because the men hadn’t taken risks usually associated with the infection.

But then investigators learned they had participated in blood-shedding religious rituals — cutting or whipping themselves — in Iraq, Pakistan, India and the United Kingdom.

“There have been suggestions that you might spread infections through this route, but it has never been described before” in a published medical study, said Dr....... Divya Dhasmana of St. Mary’s Hospital in London.

She is one of the authors of the study released Wednesday in a journal published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The men were infected with human T-cell leukemia virus type 1. Most people infected with the virus never develop symptoms, but some develop terrible illnesses, like a deadly blood cancer or a debilitating nervous system condition.

HTLV-1 spreads through breastfeeding, sex, blood transfusion and sharing of needles. Experts have estimated that up to 10 million people worldwide are infected, though it is considered relatively rare in the United States and United Kingdom.

None of the men in the study had symptoms. They were diagnosed through tests that preceded blood donations or in vitro fertilization procedures, tests that are not routinely performed in other settings.

They came to the attention of researchers at St. Mary’s Hospital, which is a referral center in England for HTLV-1 cases. The mystery was solved when Dhasmana noticed scars on the back of one man, leading to questions that revealed all 10 men had participated in religious self-flagellation.

One ritual involves striking the forehead with a knife and then passing it along to other men. Another involves striking the back with a chain of blades or other bladed implement.

One man said that when he did it, the blades being passed around were soaked in a bucket containing an over-the-counter antiseptic solution. But that is inadequate to prevent spread of HTLV-1, Dhasmana said.

The practice of whipping or cutting oneself has been practiced among different religious groups, most notably by Shiite Muslims on the holy day Ashoura. Usually only men do it, and it’s controversial even within religious communities.

Dhasmana said: “Our message is not ‘Don’t do it.’ Our message is ‘If you do it, don’t share equipment.'”


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  • Advanced Member

Being a former self-flagellator, I thank the Lord (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) for opening my eyes.

Meanwhile, pro-flagellators believe if someone was to die through such rituals, they would die as a shaheed.

Not sure how dying from your own hands results in shahadat. Seems to have cheapened martyrdom.

Salute to the real martyrs, that resist the enemy and are killed.

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I always tell people (usually Sunnis) as in discussion it always comes up as a stereotype (can't say I blame them), that it is just a minority who engage in it.

But when you see images or footage of how many take part in these rituals, it is a lot of people still.

I find it off-putting and counter productive. It certainly put me off for a long time before I investigated Shia Islam beyond the cliche criticisms and polemics.

Thought tbf, the alternative of donating blood is a positive development.

Edited by Propaganda_of_the_Deed
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3 hours ago, Leibniz said:

If one has to name the most irrational barbaric and inhuman religious ritual of our times , it has to be the self flagellation of all sorts done by some Shias.

Not commenting on the practice right now but you seriously need to keep your useless comments to yourself. 


Edited by AStruggler
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