June 19, 2007 / 5:15 AM / 13 years ago

Malaysians upset by healer's nude dance rite

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A Malaysian traditional folk healer who dances in the nude while treating her patients has upset some people in the conservative, mainly Muslim country, a newspaper said on Tuesday.

Mokhtar Mohamad Noor, 53, a teacher who wanted his sick wife to be cured, said the healer gave his wife a drink and spoke an incantation before she and some male followers in their 20s and 30s started dancing in the nude, the Star newspaper reported.

“She kept muttering unintelligible incantations which sounded like the singing of Koranic verses,” Mokhtar said, adding that the woman sat under a yellow umbrella and the dance continued before he left with his wife, tired of the group’s antics.

The bomoh, or shaman, whom some superstitious Malaysians believe can call on spirits to assist in curative rituals, is based in the city of Kota Baru, Kelantan state.

“I want the state religious affairs department to take stern action against the bomoh whose healing practice is against Islamic teachings,” the Star quoted a neighbour, Fuzi Nor, as saying.

Malaysia is a relatively modern and relaxed Muslim country where about 40 percent of the population is non-Muslim, but authorities in Kelantan, which is ruled by an opposition Islamist party, frown on departures from Koranic injunctions.

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