Maldives Police Service, on Wednesday, revealed the identity of an alleged sexual predator known to be operating under the guise of a ‘Ruqyah’ practitioner.
Ruqyah, sometimes referred to as Fanditha in the local Dhivehi language, is an Arabic term that refers to a ‘mystical’ practice exercised by certain Muslims, for the purpose of repairing ‘damage’ that is believed to be caused by jinn possession, witchcraft (Sihr) or the evil eye.
According to authorities, the man was identified as 55-year-old Mohamed Nasrullah from Buchaage, Faresmaathodaa, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll.
Police urged any individuals that may have incurred harm from Nasrullah’s practices, to contact Thinadhoo Police Centre via 9792358 and report said incident.
At present, police have not released further details pertaining to the case.
Earlier in January, authorities noted that a number of sexual abuse incidents were reported by persons that sought spiritual remedies such as black magic (Sihr) and exorcism (Rugyah).
Speaking at the Parliament’s Human Rights and Gender Committee, Human Chief Superintendent of Police (SP) Mohamed Daud pronounced that a bulk of sexual abuse cases reported involved such practices, specifically enactments of ‘black magic’, and added that certain matters were brought to public attention.
“It [sexual abuse] is inflicted not just in the name of Ruqya, but often under the guise of black magic”, said SP Daud. “We have investigated such [sexual abuse] cases that brought forward to the police, and forwarded to PG for prosecution”.
For years, sexual abuse against children has been on the rise in the Maldives, evidenced by the Ministry of Gender and Family’s 2017 statistical report indicating 418 reported cases of child sexual abuse.
A spike in reports of child abuse cases was noted following the surfacing of a report concerning a two-year-old that was sexually abused by a family member, in January.
An investigation by the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Gender into child abuse cases reported to the police over the past 15 years, published in February revealed that only 390 out of a total of 3,100 of all child abuse cases reported to the police reached a conviction.
Furthermore, the parliamentary investigation noted considerable delays in both police investigations and court procedure, revealing that 70 per cent of all concluded cases from the last 15 years took more than a year to complete.
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