An expose reveals serious problems in Palestine as charlatans attempt to cure people by using the Quran, “but the truth is that they are practicing sorcery and quackery,”
Israa Zourob, 17, died at the hands of one of these “therapists” on Feb. 2 in front of her parents and brother. Abu Khalil al-Zamili forced her to drink a liter of water mixed with half a kilogram of salt to expell the djinn that was possessing her.
Um Youssef Zourob, described the moment of her daughter’s death: “I do not know whether my daughter died of asphyxiation when [Zamili] was trying to make her drink salt water, or of salt poisoning. All I saw was that my daughter’s face turned blue as he shoved water and salt down her throat,” she recounted, tears streaming down her face.
Zourob was not the first victim of spiritual therapy aiming to break magic spells or expell a djinn, according to a study conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Sabira al-Athamna died of severe injuries after being beaten by a sheikh trying to force the djinn out of her. She was paralyzed and fell into a coma before her death in 1998. The study showed that Quranic therapy clinics and herbal medicine have spread to all the cities of the Gaza Strip. Visits to these clinics have become more common than psychiatric treatment. According to the study, these practices violate Article 3 of the Health Practitioner Law, which reads: “It is prohibited for any person to practice, pretend to or show readiness to practice medicine, whether directly or implicitly, unless authorized to do so.”
Authorities are trying to crack down on these alternative practitioners but as it is in many other countries and cultures, these treatments are seen to be religious in nature and given perhaps a pass they certainly should not be given. The sheikh responsible for Zourob’s death is under investigation. There are no laws governing alt med here.