At a colleague’s birthday recently I chatted to a friend of a friend. She told me she had been ripped off by a ‘spiritual healer’ having paid him £1,200 to solve her problems finding a new flat. He lived beneath her and had offered to help. She was quickly sucked in, believing everything he said. She said she was desperate but of course nothing happened and the ‘spiritualist’ disappeared. Did she call the police? No – too frightened and maybe ashamed. 

I had seen these type of ads before but assumed they were ‘cultural’ ie. a Middle Eastern/African/Muslim version of our astrologers, often calling themselves ‘Sheikh…’ etc  

She told me of other people with similar experiences. Another woman had consulted one about a stolen family heirloom. She ended up giving the so called spiritualist £16,000!!! He then avoided her (no surprise!). She met him in the street and he demanded more money. She was too afraid to call the police, but did eventually listen to reason and stopped paying him.  Apparently this is very common – many people consult them and get totally scammed, or even physically abused. You may say they are stupid, but they are often desperate, vulnerable and frightened. The power these ‘cultural crooks’ have over the weak and desperate is unbelievable, because the victims genuinely believe in their power. 

Since then I have noticed many people from ALL different backgrounds looking at the ads in newspapers, probably all hopeful of answers to difficult situations and feeling helpless; even a young Eastern European couple I noticed one day were enthralled with an ad.

All this reminded me of a Muslim friend who a few years ago had very bad depression. He got involved with a spiritual advisor. I questioned it but he said it was part of his religion, handing over ‘cash donations’ to help sort his life out. Eventually he snapped out of it and told me he thought the so called advisor was a ‘fake’ after all…    

So, I investigated, and there is indeed a practice of what is called Black Magic, JuJu, Voodoo, getting rid of Jinns (demons) and bringing back straying partners and people from the dead within Islam and Middle Eastern/African culture. That is bad enough. But from what I found most of those advertising do not even genuinely practice this – they are just criminals scamming vulnerable people and using their ‘cultural’ practices as a front and to lure them in. The worst financial case I heard of was of two bank accounts of the same person being wiped out! In that instance the police WERE called. And this dirty business is growing. The adverts are everywhere – small newspapers, the internet, on leaflets in the streets and cards through doors. More and more people are abused, scammed, ripped off and bullied, too afraid to go to the police. And its right here in London and spreading across all our large cities, festering away and dragging us into what I can only compare to backward, medieval times of ignorance, fear, superstition, torture and abuse. It reminds me of those old films about witch doctors and zombies, except this is real, and right here in the UK.  

Trawling the internet and newspaper archives I found even worse stories. At a centre in East London where black magic is practiced on children, a child was effectively murdered by having huge needles inserted into her to remove so called ‘Jinns’. There have been 1500 cases of similar child abuse last year, and authorities believe many go undetected, saying it is ‘hidden within plain sight’. Are we guilty of turning a blind eye yet again due to ‘political correctness’? Thinking we must allow people their cultural practices no matter the consequences to them or to our society? Or are we being fooled and scammed as well… probably both. We are becoming worn down by all of this, the fast influx of so many different cultures caused by mass uncontrolled immigration has totally overwhelmed our ability to deal with all of this. In fact, some are even linked to fake passports and immigration scams unsurprisingly. And it is spreading fast, going on under our very noses.  

The so called exorcisms of children who are accused of being witches or possessed by demons in these centres are even worse than the money scams. They involve burning, cutting, drowning, beating, inserting needles, strangling and starving. How many children or adults die but it is covered up? People who pay for these disgusting ‘services’ are genuine in their beliefs, as are the parents who believe their children need help. We even now have a National Working Group for Child Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief! What makes the parents think their children are possessed? Well, being a twin, albino, bedwetting, mental health issues, epilepsy, sleepwalking, naughty or even gifted, in fact anything! And yes, this is all in OUR cities in the UK.    

Many religions have some purveyors of dubious practices, but surely we have enough of our own to cope with, without importing all this too? You may think ‘well let them get on with it’, but it’s not just people born into that culture who are affected, and it will just continue to fester and grow. People from all backgrounds are being drawn in. A recent case was of a white English couple with a Downs baby who handed over £15,000 in desperation to a Muslim ‘spiritualist’  just for starters…

Schools, teachers, social services, doctors, hospitals and police are being asked to look out for this type of abuse. But really, with so much pressure on our infrastructure already, and their ‘normal’ jobs to do, how much can be done with everything else they have to cope with? The police say that simple ‘arrests’ will not solve it.  

What on earth have we done?

 

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