Riyadh Saudi divers have recovered relics and talismans used for sorcery from the bottom of the Red Sea in the northwestern Tabuk region, according to a report in the Al Watan Arabic daily.
“These materials were thrown into the sea after being used for at least 22 sorcery acts,” said an official of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (religious police), who hired the divers.
In another incident, a Saudi woman sorcerer was arrested in the southern Asir region last Monday. Commission officials seized a list comprising details of 98 Saudi families, suspected victims of sorcery by the woman in her 50s, in addition to materials used for black magic.
These incidents happen at a time when there are reports about increased acts of sorcery and black magic coming from various regions of the kingdom. Foreign nationals, especially those from some African and Asian countries, see this as a thriving business to earn a huge profit.
Speaking to Gulf News, Shaikh Abdullah Al Jarba, director of the department of cases at the commission, said that commission officials had discovered as many as 586 cases of sorcery and black magic in the kingdom.
He also noted that there had been at least 50 cases of sorcery in Jeddah alone since the beginning of 2011.
“These numbers are part of a dangerous index. The border regions, especially the northern region of Qurayyat as well as the southwestern cities of Qunfuda and Jeddah are major havens for con artists,” he said.
According to Al Jarba, some nine centres infamous for such activities are being closely monitored. Most of the people held for these illegal acts are African nationals and Indonesians.
“Some Indonesian maids resort to black magic with the evil intention of harming their employers,” he said.
Saudi authorities are handing out stringent punishment, including jail terms and even execution, for those convicted of sorcery and black magic.