An exorcist has claimed he has “prayed the gay away” from more than 500 LGBT+ people in Pakistan.
Tineenullah Fahad, who works from a clinic above a discount store in the country’s capital, Islamabad, explained to Vice World News that queer people are possessed by lustful demons.
The cure, he claims, is reciting verses from the Quran.
Since 2012, the 35-year-old has been offering so-called spiritual healing on a case-by-case basis. Such treatments include beating LGBT+ people in an effort to expel so-called evil spirits.
Around “60 per cent of the homosexual cases that come to me are the results of black magic and demonic possession,” Fahad claimed, explaining his belief that LGBT+ people are possessed by demons.
In one disturbing case, Fahad “was on top of [a victim] beating him and he had no scars on his body” for “four hours, until two o’clock at night”, he recalled.
Conversion therapists are often considered in Pakistan to be spiritual healers, with no federal laws banning the practice – meaning that such brutal beatings under the guise of spirituality continue.
Hundreds of faith leaders have pleaded for a global ban on conversion therapy, a call only amplified by countless medical authorities and the United Nations, which say the discredited and dangerous practice is akin to torture.
Types of conversion therapy, UN violence expert Victor Madrigal-Borloz said, range from “beatings, rape, electrocution, forced medication, isolation and confinement, forced nudity, verbal offence [to] humiliation”.
All these atrocities, he said, are “degrading and discriminatory and rooted in the belief that LGBT persons are somehow inferior, and that they must at any cost modify their orientation or identity to remedy that supposed inferiority”.
The idea alone that sexual orientation or gender identity can be “converted” was one even dismissed by psychotherapist Sigmund Freud.
But to Fahad, homosexuality is nothing more than a symptom of “Ashiq Jinnat” which loosely translates to a kind of demon-lover. To him, this justifies such extreme acts.SPONSORED CONTENT
He believes that a spirit, or a “jinn”, settles into a body to exploit the possessed’s lust – the jinn places people under a spell, which some spiritual healers claim bewitches them into same-sex attraction.
“When Satan was banished from Allah’s darbaar [a ruler’s court] he vowed to take revenge on mankind by making them reject God’s commands so that they fall into such unnatural activities,” he added.
In Pakistan, LGBT+ citizens face vigilante executions, beatings and torture. The country’s penal code – drafted during colonial imposition, a relic of British Raj rule – punishes queer sex with a prison sentence.
Other anti-LGBT+ penal code provisions compound the climate of religious conservatism that snarls the lives of queer Pakistanis, forcing many to live in secrecy and always be on their guard.
With such looming threats – and an uptick of violence bringing even greater urgency – lawmakers last year announced a long-sought “bill of protection“. As transphobic violence in particular soars, ministers are scrambling to enshrine greater protections for the embattled trans community.