Sorry, Gandalf! Former Soviet state bans wizards + sorcery

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Feb 12, 2013, 2:16 PM EST

Apparently folks like Gandalf and Merlin are no longer welcome in the former Soviet state of Chechnya.

The government’s president, Ramzan Kadyrov, has issued a public edict to his people, saying: "Turning to wizards and false healers won't bring them any relief and is banned by Islam." The region is predominantly Muslim.

People claiming to have magical powers have become such a problem in the nation that Kadyrov felt the need to make the statement. A growing number of “charlatans” have been accused of ripping people off, offering false messages from the great beyond and other supernatural bargains.

According to The Telegraph, many in the nation believe in Islamic spirits called “djinns,” which draw power from all the wars and destruction in the region. I don’t know about you, but if there are spirits out there causing trouble, I think I’d want a  good wizard or sorcerer there to help me out.

But seriously, it’s always bad to see opportunists trying to feed on the beliefs of a local culture or religion for their own financial gain. Here’s hoping the Chechnyan people can develop a better radar to weed out the fakes.

(Via The Telegraph)