x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Two babies abandoned in mosque

Police search for parents of boys aged six weeks and five months discovered by imam wrapped in blankets.

One of the babies is six weeks old and the other is five months old.
One of the babies is six weeks old and the other is five months old.

SHARJAH // Two baby boys were being cared for in hospital last night after they were found abandoned inside a mosque. The babies, thought to be unrelated, were wrapped in blankets when they were discovered by the imam of the mosque in Industrial Area 4 before morning prayers. Police said they had been there overnight. One was about five months and the other six weeks.

The babies were taken to Al Qassimi Hospital, where a spokesman said they were "in good health". They are the third and fourth recorded cases of abandoned babies in the Northern Emirates this year. Last night, police were looking for their parents. If the parents, or guardians, were not found, the babies would be taken to Sharjah Care Centre, a police spokesman said. Staff at the mosque where the babies were found declined to comment.

Last month, two babies were discovered abandoned in Ajman and Ras al Khaimah. An intensive hunt was launched by Ajman Police to trace the parents of a three-month-old baby girl who was abandoned on a bench on the Corniche. Officers arrested a man and a woman, both in their early 30s. They have been charged with adultery, and endangering the baby's life. If convicted on both counts, the pair could be sentenced to one year in prison and fined Dh10,000 (US$2,700).

The woman, a Filipina, was said to have told police that she had abandoned her child after learning of the strict laws on giving birth out of wedlock. Brig Ali Alwan, the director general of Ajman Police, said the woman told officers the baby's Pakistani father wanted nothing to do with her or their child. The man had confessed to being the father, according to police. An official from Ajman Public Prosecution said investigations were almost complete and the case would soon be brought before the court.

A girl about seven days old was found abandoned in a cardboard box outside the door of a mosque in Jazirat al Hamra, RAK. Two babies were left in Sharjah mosques last year, one at Al Sahabah and the other at King Faisal. The imam of King Faisal mosque, who did not want to be named, said two baby boys had been left at his mosque during his time there. It was often a decision taken by desperate parents, he said.

"The parents leave the babies here because they think the mosque charity will take care of it," he said.