Where demons, women and ‘Islamic State’ met

“Women still come asking for the exorcism sessions,” says Othman, the muezzin who, five times a day, calls the faithful to pray at the Haiba Khatoon Mosque in the center of Mosul. He did the same during the three years Iraq’s second city was occupied by IS and recalls how women would flock to the mosque for the sessions held especially for them to evict djinns, as the Quran calls demons or supernatural creatures.

Othman is sitting in the mosque’s gardens, where men are performing their prayers. This busy mosque near the University of Mosul is used a lot by traders, students and travelers who miss one of the set prayer times.

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