Beliefs about Jinn, black magic and the evil eye among Muslims: Age gender and first language influences

International Journal of Culture and Mental Health 06/2011; 4(1):68-77. DOI: 10.1080/17542863.2010.503051


Mental health services in the UK have been repeatedly criticised for being insensitive to patients' religious and cultural needs. Muslims form Britain's largest ethnic minority group – nearly 3% of the UK population – yet, their health beliefs and practices remain relatively unexplored. We examined Muslims’ beliefs about Jinn, black magic and the evil eye and whether believed affliction by these supernatural entities could cause physical or mental health problems and also whether doctors, religious leaders, or both should treat this. A self-report questionnaire was given to a convenience sample of Muslims aged 18 years and over (n=111). The majority of the sample believed in the existence of Jinn, black magic and the evil eye and approximately half of them stated that these could cause physical and mental health problems and that these problems should be treated by both doctors and religious figures. Our results highlight an important area that demands attention from providers of health care.

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Available from: Najat Khalifa,
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    • "To promote clinical engagement, it would seem advisable to tailor interviewing techniques to obtain more specific information about symptomatology, coping mechanisms, and the sociocultural context of patients' complaints. Biomedically trained health practitioners may seek the collaboration of religious health care workers (Blom et al., 2010; Khalifa et al., 2011). In our practice in The Hague, an imam in the service of our psychiatric hospital is available for consultation and advice. "
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