Exorcisms are practiced among the followers of Islam, Christianity, and some other world religions.

Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on February 25 that there is a belief among Muslims that an evil spirit or jinni can possess a person but can be driven out of the possessed person's body through an exorcism that includes reciting certain verses from the Koran.

But several Tajik clergymen told RFE/RL that many clerics in the country refrain from performing exorcism because it requires special training.

In the meantime, the spike in demand for exorcisms has led to a rise in the number of self-proclaimed exorcists, and charlatans, according to the clerics and officials.  Many of them perform exorcisms and do faith healings, according to RFE/RL.

Some also mix in elements of the occult, which is outlawed in Tajikistan and prohibited within Islam.

Tajikistan's Committee on Religious Affairs (CRA) reportedly said, "Muslims believe that the Koran has healing powers, therefore they seek help [from exorcisms] to treat certain mental health issues, but unfortunately there have been cases in which some [self-proclaimed exorcists] tried to take advantage of people's [religious] beliefs."

RFE/RL notes that for some clerics exorcism is a source of income.

Exorcism is reportedly a key source of income for Sabohiddin Shodiyev, a popular cleric in his rural community on the outskirts of Dushanbe.  Shodiyev -- not his real name -- says that every week he treats about 15 clients who ask him to expel what they believe is an evil spirit, or jinni, possessing them, or to rid them from "an evil eye."

The 53-year-old cleric says he has been practicing exorcisms -- which he learned to do from his father -- for more than two decades. Most of Shodiyev's clients come from Dushanbe and nearby districts, but some to travel from faraway regions to seek his help.

Three Tajik clerics reportedly told RFE/RL that the demand for exorcisms is on the rise in the country.  

Tajik laws do not ban the procedure.  But several men who perform exorcisms have been jailed in recent years on charges of fraud, sexual molestation, or practicing the occult.  

Recall, Tajikistan has launched a crackdown on witchcraft and fortune-telling, as occultism is on the rise in the country.      

The law that was passed by Tajik parliament in December 2007, in particular, says, “Those indulging in sorcery and fortune-telling shall be fined between 30 and 40 times the minimum monthly wage.”