Exorcisms are being performed on Asians across the UK as a method of treatment for mental illnesses such as bi-polar disease, epilepsy and schizophrenia, an investigation has found. Hundreds of British Asians are operating as healers, blaming the supernatural for mental health problems and charging sometimes thousands of pounds a session to remove evil spirits from bodies believed to be possessed. An exorcist operating in east London has said the demons can ‘deceive doctors’ and research by BBC’s Newsnight has found that some communities are finding it more acceptable to be possessed than mentally ill.
Exorcism: Mudasar Khan, pictured, believes a Jinn is causing his panic attacks and depression. An exorcism is pictured being performed where the exorcist reads passages from the Qur'an
The evil spirit – commonly known as a Jinn in Asian communities – is removed by a healer reading passages from the Qur'an. There is a theological grounding for Muslim's belief in evil spirits as the concept of Jinn is in the Qur’an – though what Jin actually is, is not universally agreed upon. An exorcism is the religious practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person, which they are believed to have possessed. Communities of British Asians are blaming the supernatural for mental health problems, according to research by Warwick University. The supernatural is also being blamed in some cases for criminal activity and even not getting a job.
The research coincides with the conviction in September of four members of the same Asian family who murdered a young woman believed to be possessed. Experts have raised concerns that spiritual help is being treated by many as just as valuable as medical treatment, with one Asian comparing his exorcism to ‘like a dose of medicine.’
Abou Mohamed, an exorcist operating in Walthamstow, east London told BBC’s Newsnight: ‘We don’t want to interfere with the job of doctors of medical professionals. Could be psychological problem but the one behind it is the Jinn because the Jinn can play with us, can deceive us and the Jin can even deceive doctors.’ The belief in evil spirits is ‘widespread’, according to the BBC, and it can refer to concepts like black magic, but in the more extreme, that the body can be possessed causing physical harm.
Abou Mohamed, pictured, an exorcist operating in Walthamstow, east London told BBC's Newsnight that the Jinn could deceive doctors
Professor Swaran Singh, at the Warwick University medical school said ‘a lot of people’ seeing mental health being treated as possessions. He said: ‘Any group of clinicians working in the city area they will all have seen this. It is an everyday experience. It is not necessarily a problem of social class or education. It is a lot of people.’ He said spiritual healing can be helpful as long as it is not used instead of medical care. He added: ‘I think it is a combination of how cultures make sense of people and how stigma just prevents them from recognising what it really is. 'Quite often people see abnormal behaviour as somehow being caused by some bad influence rather than a sign of mental illness and the badness becomes external malevolence.
Evil spirits: An investigation has found hundreds of Asian healers are performing exorcisms on people to remove the Jinn
Mudasar Khan, a letting agent in Walthamstow, suffered from panic attacks and depression. He claimed medication has not worked for him and instead, said he was possessed by a Jinn, a supernatural being. He visits exorcist Mohamed in a back room, where he pays £60 for sessions to remove the evil spirits from his body. He told BBC’s Newsnight after one session: ‘It will give me a boost, it is like a dose of medicine.’ He added: ‘If there’s a fairy how can I explain the things that I’m going through.’ Many ‘healers’ were said to ‘operate in the shadows’, being heavily protected by the communities they seek to help.
Nazir Afzal, a chief crown prosecutor in the north west, said: ‘They do operate in the shadows. They are protected by others within their communities or within their faiths or within their place of worship. We are becoming very aware of it.' One 20-year-old, who was not named, said he visited a healer who tried to remove a Jinn inside of him but later discovered he suffered from schizophrenia. He said: ‘I am actually happy that we did go through the spiritual help at first’.
In September a man and three members of his family were jailed for at least 56 years after being convicted of murdering his pregnant wife claiming she was possessed by evil spirits. One of the four smothered 21-year-old Nalia Mumtaz while the others held her down, apparently in an attempt to drive out the ‘jinn’ spirit from her body. Speaking to BBC Newsnight, family friend Tony Mehdi said: ‘The thinking behind her in-laws was that they would have the body released – take it back home to Pakistan.’ The killers included her husband, Mohammed Tauseef Mumtaz – who later claimed she suffocated herself – his parents, Zia Ul-Haq and Salma Aslam, both 51, and his brother in law Hammad Hassan.
Source: Daily Mail UK