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‘Exorcism’ sparks noise pollution complaints in Kulhudhuffushi

An exorcism technique believed to counter sorcery is being played through loudspeakers.



Kulhudhuffushi council said Monday it had received complaints about noise pollution from the ruling party’s campaign hall on the island.

Ruqya, an exorcism technique believed to counter sorcery, is being played through loudspeakers from the Progressive Party of Maldives campaign hall.

The ruqya has been broadcast for 10 days, council president Abdul Latheef Hassan told the Maldives Independent. It starts after dawn and continues until night, with breaks for prayers.

“It is believed that the ruqya is to cancel out sorcery. A few people were arrested for sorcery on the island and this started after that,” he said.

Last month four men were arrested from the island on suspicion of practising sorcery, or black magic, for an opposition victory in a presidential election due to be held on September 23.

“Other ruqya practitioners have said this is not the way to cancel out sorcery and that this method does not benefit people.”

The council has alerted police about the complaints after “a lot of people” called the council about the disturbing noise levels, although they did not file official complaints.

A PPM member from Kulhudhuffushi said there should not be any ruqya from the campaign hall and denied knowing anything about it.

However a ruling party supporter confirmed to the Maldives Independent that it was happening on the island.

“Everyone does sorcery – Maumoon (the former president), MDP (the main opposition party) and the government, they all do it,” said the supporter, who wished remain anonymous. “So there will be people who will want to counter it.”

There was a surge of suspected sorcery ahead of the 2013 presidential election, including a cursed coconut and black magic doll at a polling station.

The use of cursed coconuts was also alleged in court after parliamentary elections in 2014.

Belief in sorcery and black magic, known locally as fanditha and sihuru, is common in the Maldives. Fanditha is allowed for licensed parties under a 1978 law. Sihuru, enlisting demons to harm others, while not illegal is unauthorised and considered taboo.