Horror Show Sunday: Faith in Witchcraft Kills

Mohammed Ashiq

Mohammed Ashiq has suffered from epilepsy since early childhood and has always been treated by his family doctor, Doctor Shankar and lived a generally normal life.  Mohammed lived in Kuddupadav in Kepu village near Vittal, in India.  However, when he was 21, his father, Abdul Kunhi, a believer in witchcraft, took him to a practitioner known as Tangal and that witchdoctor gave Abdul some powder, which he was instructed to dilute in water and give it to Mohammed.  He also told Abdul to stop the anti-epileptic drugs that were proscribed by Doctor Shankar.  Abdul, having faith in this sorcery, immediately stopped his son from taking the proper medication to control his epileptic fits and put him on this powder solution.  Mohammed started to deteriorate immediately.  Abdul even contacted Tangal about his son’s health problems and was told not to worry and to continue to do what he was told.  However, within a few days of this continued witchdoctory, Mohammed’s health had failed to such a degree that they had to rush him to a local hospital in Mangalore.  Mohammed never made it to that hospital, he died in transit.

We talk a lot about parents who would rather pray over their sick children than get them credible medical attention in the Western world.  In many parts of the world though, it’s not prayer, it’s witchcraft that’s the problem.  People who believe that these sorcerers have power will rely on their abilities instead of seeking out actual medical aid, resulting in the death of many innocents, particularly children.  The problem is, so many of these people live in remote villages, where real education is rare, I suppose it’s not surprising that so many people will go to folk remedies and magical cures for diseases and conditions they don’t understand.  After all, many of these people think that disease is caused by black magic spells to begin with.  I think it’s hard for people in the West to truly understand just how primitive these people and their beliefs are, where cultural beliefs have persisted for hundreds of years and there’s a pervasive fear of anything new or different.

The next time someone tells you that religion causes no harm, think of poor Mohammed Ashiq and the magic powder.  He was doing great with modern medicine until someone swapped it for superstitious bullshit.  Such is the world of Horror Show Sunday.

8 thoughts on “Horror Show Sunday: Faith in Witchcraft Kills”

  1. Back when I was a Christian, I viewed prayer and witchcraft as being so different that it never would have occurred to me to even use them in the same sentence. I feel very differently on the subject these days. I don't see prayer and the religious rituals often surrounding it as being terribly different from witchcraft and the rituals often surrounding it. Primitive superstitions.

    My recent post Mark Driscoll: If You Are Not a Christian, You Are Going to Hell

    1. Is that even being updated anymore? The last time I was there, and I admit that it has been a while, it seemed to me that it hadn't changed much over time.

      1. I don't know if it is being updated. But even if it isn't it is a good resource for past events in which religion has harmed people.

        1. Which is exactly why I'm doing the Religious Horror Show. It's an ongoing resource for both past and present events in which religion has and continues to harm people. There are many other similar databases currently ongoing that do the same thing. Godless Poutine does a similar segment on witchcraft in Africa over on the Secret Atheist Blog. The most important thing is to keep people informed that these abuses have and continue to occur.

          There are lots of places where people can find that. All they really have to do is read the news.

  2. " I think it’s hard for people in the West to truly understand just how primitive these people and their beliefs are, where cultural beliefs have persisted for hundreds of years and there’s a pervasive fear of anything new or different."

    When you say " these people" are you referring to all Indians? And do you really mean to say that the people are primitive as well as their beliefs? Are you asserting that all their beliefs are primitive? I honestly can't tell what your intent is in this comment because you use sweeping general language without any attempt at nuance.

    1. Unfortunately, you seem to be the only one who can't derive the meaning from the context and this is not the only recent post for which this has been the case. Clearly, I'm talking about Indians for which the statements are true. I didn't have to explain this to anyone else and I'm honestly not sure what else to tell you. Sorry if it was confusing.

  3. http://moralcompassblog.com/2014/01/11/woman-slas

    Here is yet another example of the harm and injury that can results from the influence of religious belief. This is an item about a mother who beat and then slashed the throat of her 5-year-old son after reading the Bible. She said she did so because she realized during the reading of some Bible passages that her son was demonically possessed.

    It is likely that this woman already had some psychological issues. But in this case, at the very least, her religious belief appears to have served as some kind of trigger initiating this psychotic outburst. This alone is reason enough, I think, to oppose belief in the bible, christianity and god.

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