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Leading imam warns of bogus exorcisms

29 September, 2004

A leading imam has warned Asians in the north-west of England against bogus exorcists and faith healers, according to theasiannews.co.uk.

Mufti
Barkatullah, from the Finchley mosque, spoke at a recent gathering in
Manchester of Asian community groups and psychiatrists. He said that
many people with epilepsy or mental illnesses turn to bogus healers as
they think they are possessed by jinn [spirits mentioned in the Koran
who can exercise supernatural influence over people] with these bogus
healers then performing frightening exorcisms at great expense to the
people affected.

He told the conference:

"I
get many people ringing to tell me that they are possessed by the jinn.
They tell me that they have visited many faith healers who have given
them a tabbeese (talisman) but it has not worked.

"I
am not a medical doctor and cannot diagnose people but I can tell when
a person is not possessed by jinn but actually has medical problems and
needs to seek urgent medical advice. I tell these people to go to their
GPs urgently and not to visit faith healers who use Islam as an excuse
to practice their bogus trade.

"I
am not saying jinns do not exist. As Muslims we believe that there are
jinns and that they can dwell in human bodies. But that doesn't mean
that everybody suffering from epilepsy is possessed by the jinn."