Thursday, August 1, 2013

Back Alley Jinn Exorcism in the UK -Disinformation

Originally published August 1, 2013 via disinfo.com

Last year, the BBC reported on a case where four family members were found guilty of murder.  The victim, Naila Mumtaz, an expectant mother, was found smothered in the home she shared with her husband, Mohammed, in Birmingham, England.  Mohammed and his parents, Zia Ul-Haq and Salma Aslan, along with his brother-in-law, Hammad Hassan, denied the allegations and defended themselves by claiming that Naila’s injuries were self-inflicted, and that she was possessed by a jinn (djinn), an Islamic evil spirit, similar to the Christian concept of a demon.

Although it received some media attention, this was not an isolated case.  Catrin Nye (BBC) reported a rise of criminal abuse in the UK related to the exorcism of jinn (a practice called “Ruqyah”) in recent years.  Some of these cases have resulted in the victims’ death, with the so-called “healer” (“raaqi”) often escaping punishment, being hidden by members of their communities.  Even in the majority of cases, where death does not occur, we find victims of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mental health issues being denied the proper medical treatment in favor of exorcism.

The jinn are described in the Qur’an (55:15) as a race of creatures with free will, created from a “smokeless flame” by Allah.  They are physical in nature, but are invisible to humans.  The fact that the jinn have free will means that they can be good, evil, or neutral.  However, Islam’s Satan, known as Iblis or Shaytan, was the only jinn to be considered equal in standing to the angels.  The Qur’an tells the story of the creation of Adam, where Allah commands the angels to prostrate before the freshly minted human.  Only Iblis refuses (7:11-12). This story may be the reason behind the general view of the jinn as essentially malevolent.

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