More Jinn (and tonics) for British Muslims

BRITISH Muslims are reportedly increasingly prone to mental health problems. Nothing, of course, to do with their insane religion, but because of increased activity by demons – specifically Jinns.

A BBC documentaryPossession, Jinn and Britain’s Backstreet Exorcists – reveals that UK health and social workers and those in the criminal justice system

Are increasingly having to understand belief in spiritual possession among ethnic minorities, with new research highlighting a particular issue with some sections of the British Asian community blaming mental health problems on the supernatural.

“Star” of the documentary is exorcist Abou Mohammed, of Ilford, East London, who does a nice little line in banishing Jinns – for £60 an hour. He is surrounded by copies of the Koran, containers of olive oil and a spray-bottle of water which he uses on the Jinn, the supernatural spirits, that he says possess many of his clients.

Mohammed, who goes by the title of Raqi, has a waiting list several months long.

One of his clients is Mudasar Khan, 41, who says he has been possessed by a Jinn for years. He describes it as something that surrounds his body, buzzing, making him unwell and even stopping him sleeping.

Mudasar Khan being “exorcised” by Muslim quack Abou Mohammed

Curiously, I had that problem earlier this year, but a €1.99 mosquitoes repellent did the trick.

Khan has been on anti-depressants in the past and suffered panic attacks, but he says the Jinn prevented medication from working and that it is only coming to Abou Mohammed that has provided some relief.

For five years Khan has been treated by Mohammed, whose tonic is to call up up the Khan’s Jinn and speak to it directly to it

Hmmm. Five years at £60.00 a session. You do the math.

Mohammed knows what he does is controversial. While the BBC were filming his work he filmed them, concerned that the crew would distort what he does. He said – promise not to laugh – that

There are many charlatans in his field.

The exorcist believes some illnesses are unnecessarily dealt with by doctors when they are actually spiritual problems. He even says some people have operations they do not need because the Jinn has tricked doctors.

I cure them by this book [the Koran]. You have to have a faith in it and it will work. So yes, anxiety, depression, heart problems, many, believe me, many problems get cured by this healing.

Professor Swaran Singh, head of the Mental Health and Wellbeing division at Warwick Medical School, has just completed a five year study, funded by the Department of Health, into why patients from ethnic minority backgrounds were often reaching mental health services in a more severely ill state than the rest of the population.

We found that in the very early stages when people have depression or anxiety, they seek help through their GP because it looks like a psychological problem. When they become seriously unwell, like when they develop delusions or start hearing voices, then the groups diverge.

The Asian groups, particularly the British Pakistanis, then attribute their problem to a religious cause, for instance, possession by a Jinn. So they seek help through the imams, through the mosque.

British Muslims in particular are brought up learning of the existence of Jinn in the Koran, though what the Jinn actually are is not universally agreed upon.

However, the nasty little buggers are said here to be strongly attracted by:

Strong perfume and women who don’t cover their hair.

There’s more on evil Jinns and magic here.

Prof Singh says that religious care can bring a great deal of comfort to patients, but it can create serious problems if it is the only help sought

As well as the misdiagnosis of mental health problems there have been other extreme consequences to the attribution of possession. In September this year four members of the same Muslim family were found guilty of the murder of 21-year-old Naila Mumtaz in Birmingham.

Mumtaz’s in-laws, Zia Ul-Haq and Salma Aslam, who along with her husband Mohammed Mumtaz and brother-in-law Hammad Hassan were convicted of her killing, thought she was possessed by evil spirits.

The trial heard evidence that she was killed as family members attempted to drive out a harmful Jinn spirit.

Naila’s brother Nasir Mehmood believes Jinn was used as a way of “explaining away” the death:

The thinking behind her in-laws was that they would have the body released, take it back home to Pakistan, and say Jinn did it. Jinn killed her. There’s no reason to explain anything further than that. People are very susceptible to believe that sort of stuff.

Tony Medhi, a family friend who helped Mr Mehmood through the case, says he is very used to seeing spiritual possession used as a “catch all” for any problems in the British Pakistani community he grew up in:

The Jinn concept is used to keep society in its place. If somebody isn’t behaving correctly, maybe somebody’s behaviour is very extreme, it could be due to some mental illness, or physical disability or something like that, people will turn around and say ‘it’s Jinn. Jinn has done this to her or him’.

Catrin Nye’s full documentary will also be available online here.

Hat tip: Agent Cormac and M A Chohan (magic and Jinns link)