Father of Conjoined Twins Embraces Islam
RIYADH, 19 July 2007 — The father of the Cameroonian Siamese twins, Phambom and Shefbou, who were separated at King Abdul Aziz Medical City (KAMC) in April this year, embraced Islam at a simple function held yesterday at the hospital in the presence of selected guests.
The father, James Akumpu, became Abdullah Akumpu and recited the kalima after Dr. Sheikh Ibrahim. “We are very happy to accept Akumpu into the fold of Islam,” Dr. Ibrahim told guests. He explained the basic principles of Islam and told Abdullah to adhere to them and be an ambassador of Islam in his own country.
“I am proud to embrace this noble faith and become a part of the prestigious Muslim community whose rich traditions attracted me to make this decision,” Akumpu told newsmen after his conversion. He said the decision to convert was his own and was carefully taken during his four months’ stay in the Kingdom.
Akumpu explained the agony his family underwent for one and a half years with the conjoined twins.
“It’s because of the magnanimity shown by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah that my infants were separated at no cost to us,” Akumpu said, pointing out that the monarch’s action symbolizes the attitude and approach of Islam toward those that are less fortunate.
“I have been attracted by Islam and delighted to be a partner of this great community that preaches real brotherhood, equality and tolerance,” he said.
Coming from a village in Cameroon, which has only 500 Muslims, Akumpu said that he is used to Islamic culture back home. “When we are in financial distress, we seek assistance from our Muslim brothers who always help us by giving their cattle to plow our fields,” he said, stressing that Muslims are well known in Cameroon for their rich culture and traditions.
Akumpu said his entire family members would embrace the religion of peace in due course. “I do not want to compel even my wife to become a Muslim,” he said, emphasizing that conversion has to come through an understanding of the religion. Akumpu’s wife, Emmevena Nyamale, was also present at the meeting and appeared happy with her husband’s decision.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, chief executive officer of the National Guard Health Affairs and chief surgeon at KAMC, said this was a unique moment in which one of the beneficiaries, who experienced Islamic hospitality and magnanimity, reverted to Islam.
“While welcoming Akumpu to our community, we feel happy that the services rendered under the instructions of King Abdullah are bearing fruit in several ways,” he said.
The twins, who were successfully separated on April 21, 2007 after a 16-hour-long operation, are now at the general pediatric ward. “They have returned to their normal activity and diet and aren’t experiencing any problems or complications,” Dr. Rabeeah said, adding that they are being prepared for discharge in a few weeks’ time.
“They will require a period of physiotherapy and rehabilitation to enable them to function normally. Both twins are now interacting cheerfully, smiling, and playing with their parents and hospital staff,” Dr. Rabeeah added.