x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

UAE court clears black magic practitioner of theft

An Emirati who paid Dh16,000 to a Sudanese man claiming to have magical healing powers is appealing against the wizard's acquittal.

ABU DHABI // A man lost both his ability to walk and Dh16,000 after seeking the help of a black magic practitioner, a court heard.

The 36-year-old Emirati AM approached the Sudanese mutawa'a (religious teacher) SK about five years ago on the advice of a colleague. He believed he was suffering the ill-effects of a spell, and his colleague suggested the mutawa'a could cure him with the help of the Quran.

The man then sponsored the man to come to the UAE as a Quran teacher for his son.

The mutawa'a stayed in the man's house for two months and each day he would write phrases on a small blackboard that the man did not understand. He would then erase the words and take the residue of chalk from the erased words and dissolve it in water for the man to drink.

The mutawa'a told the man to buy a special type of incense called "laban thakar" which he said would cure the house and its inhabitants of all evil. The man then went to a salesman recommended by the mutawa'a and paid Dh10,000 for the incense.

Two days later the mutawa'a told him the incense had been stolen by jinn.

On a subsequent occasion the man drove to Dubai with his cook and the mutawa'a and left Dh6,500 in cash on the dashboard while he ran an errand. When he returned the mutawa'a and the cash were both missing. The cook informed him that the mutawa'a had taken the money and fled.

The man then reported the mutawa'a to police. He told officers that he also suspected the mutawa'a had been in league with the incense salesman to scam him out of the Dh10,000.

A few days after approaching the police the man suffered a stroke which left him unable to walk - a condition he claims was caused by the drink the mutawa'a fed him daily. The man is receiving treatment in the UK and is now able to stand up and walk a few steps at a time, but still relies on his electronic wheelchair.

He told the court he approached the Islamic Affairs Authority and that it informed him that the mutawa'a was casting incantations on him.

The mutawa'a was arrested at the airport recently after returning to the UAE on another man's sponsorship.

The Criminal Court cleared the mutawa'a of fleeing his sponsor and of theft.

The man said he would appeal.

hdajani@thenational.ae