Malaysian state to use Islamic 'ghostbusters'

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Malaysia's conservative northern Kelantan state is to deploy "ghostbusters" to perform exorcisms on followers of illicit Islamic cults, reports said on Friday.

Kelantan's Islamic affairs department director, Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman, said the exorcists were well-versed in the Koran and would drive out evil spirits from cult followers who follow "deviant" teachings, the Star reported.

The exorcists will also tackle Islamic enforcement officers who had investigated cultists and been converted, it said.

"Perhaps meals or drinks served to the officers were spiked ... Otherwise, it does not make sense how a person with strong faith can be easily overcome by deviant teachings," Abdul Aziz was quoted as saying.

"This is where exorcism may be needed to flush out the unhealthy elements through spiritual Islamic teachings," he said.

Mainly Muslim Malaysia is always on the lookout for Islamic cults it says deviate from traditional teachings and practice.

Abdul Aziz said authorities had identified 16 cults in the state in the past decade and had jailed, whipped or fined members found guilty of spreading irregular teachings.

"It's not easy to catch these deviationists as they use all kinds of tactics to hide their activities which include black magic," he was quoted as saying by the state Bernama news agency.