Saudi Housewives Investigate their Maids for Suspicion of Using "Black Magic"

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Jan 3 2010

The Arab Times published today what seems to be a serious report titled "Fear of black magic forces maids’ probe". The underlying message of the title and the report is that the housewives are "forced" to protect themselves against their maids.

According to the report, the housewives pay between 200-500 SR ($53-$133) for women, usually foreign but sometimes unemployed Saudi women, who come and check the maids before they leave the country. The investigators search through the maid's belongings to make sure that she didn't take the sponsors' photo, hair or clothing, with which she can preform black magic once she returns home. The second stage of the investigation, which the housemaids sometimes do themselves to save costs is a body-search of the maid. The housewives lie to the maids and tell them that the investigator was sent by a government body, as part of the repatriation process.

The report cites Suad Afif, a sociologist and professor at King Abdulaziz University, who states that while the evil eye and black magic do exist, not every maid who works in Saudi Arabia performs it.

On November 2009 a court in Mecca sentenced to death a Lebanese man for "witchcraft". During that month, Saudi religious police arrested at least two others for sorcery.

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