Turkish court orders Islamic 'faith healer' to return his fee in fraud case

A Turkish court on March 11 ordered a man who describes himself as a "faith healer" to return the fee he received from a so-called "consultant" during a session after he wrote on the woman's naked body. Burhan Dalğali is standing charges of fraud through the violation of religious beliefs.

Duvar English

An Istanbul court ordered an Islamic "faith healer" ("hoca" in Turkish) named Burhan Dalğali to return the fee he collected from a consultant after he made her undress during a session. 

A video showing Dalğali writing on the consultant's body and reading a book during the ritual circulated on social media in September, prompting outrage in conservative circles. 

When the incident came out to light, Dalğali was detained, but only to be released shortly afterward pending trial on charges of fraud through the abuse of religious beliefs.

In a March 11 hearing, the defendant claimed that a plot was set up against him, and that he wasn't conscious in the moments recorded in the video. 

Asked by the court board what he was reading during the ritual, Dalğali said: "I'm not reading anything. I wanted to break free of the trap and the persons who trapped me. I did it for self-defense. I'm not writing down anything in Arabic from the book I seem to be reading." 

Dalğali also said that he doesn't own an official imam license.

People who describe themselves as "healers" use touch and prayers with a claim that they can cure illnesses, solve problems or rid people of "bad spirits."

Experts say that a strong belief in such methods can leave some vulnerable people open to exploitation by unscrupulous practitioners.