Arabs fork out billions for magical healing: report

Says there are 250,000 sorcerers across the Arab world


A recent study showed that Arabs pay around $5 billion to sorcerers and fortune tellers, the number of which has been estimated at 250,000, Algerian press reported Sunday.

Fifty-five percent of those seeking magic healing are women, usually intellectuals and university graduates, the Algerian daily independent el-Khabar said, without naming the source of the study.

The report added that 99% of the cases were due to psychological problems and had no connection to demonic possession or spells.

Magic and superstition are part of folk culture and people are attracted by its mystery, anthropologists say, adding that resorting to magic to solve problems is a sign of a cultural or social crisis.

Arab ministers of health recently called for a ban on satellite channels that broadcast shows about fortunetelling or sorcery, and stressed that these programs encourage people to abandon conventional medicine and look for alternatives, which they deemed was destructive.

Arab activists also launched a campaign against such programs and called on Arab Satellite Communications Organization ARABSAT to such channels.

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid.)