Family of deceased British Army officer calls for investigation of “cult”
By Linda Rogers
The family of a 27-year-old British Army officer who died of cancer in November (2012) have called for an investigation into the brainwashing tactics of a group who claimed they could cure her cancer. Leaders of Innersound, who have a clinic in London and are recognized as a cult by UK experts, dissuaded Naima Mohamed from having the chemotherapy that could have saved her life. Innersound ‘masters’ claimed she would recover from their meditation and therapy alone, and that chemotherapy was poison.
The Sandhurst-trained officer rejected chemotherapy and all other NHS treatments in January 2011. She handed over more than £15k to Innersound, but then the cancer spread to her sternum and lungs. Naima was told in July last year by hospital doctors her family persuaded her to see that she had around two years to live, but she died in a hospice near her family in Poole just four months later.
Naima’s Moroccan-born father Ben Mohamed, 68, wept as he told last week “Naima was totally under the spell of those so called masters, and she kept saying they knew how to cure her, that she would be OK. There needs to be an investigation into what they are doing. They are telling very sick people they can cure them and it’s just rubbish. It’s just a shame my daughter didn’t realize this sooner, when she could have had life saving treatment. They made her believe chemotherapy was poison that would harm her body not cure it. At the end of her life Naima said to me ‘I’m so sorry dad. I was wrong’. Something needs to happen to stop them doing this to others.” Naima’s distraught mother Saida has been staying with relatives in France since the funeral on 18th November.
Naima’s grandfather Thomas Philips, a British man who was in the Navy said “I too would like to see an investigation. Naima kept taking me to the clinic, convinced their massages would cure my arthritis and heart trouble. They encourage clients to bring relatives for treatments. It wasn’t magical or miraculous, just expensive massage, and Naima was very struck with them. I suppose she was brainwashed, but it was hard to reach that conclusion there as the masters all seemed so genuine and kind. Naima kept saying ‘they are taking the badness out of me granddad, and you have to believe it.’” Mr Philips says Innersound were ‘bleeding Naima dry’ and she often asked him for loans to pay for her treatments.
The Innersound Foundation, just off Harley Street and formerly known as Ki Health, told Naima that their Master Oh (photo left) had cured himself of cancer and said he could cure hers. The enrobed South Korean leader said she would recover through ‘ancestral healing’ which gets rid of ancestors’ ‘bad energy’ to heal their troubled successors living in the present.
A 32 year old management consultant who was seeing Innersound masters at the same time as Naima for bowel disease, who can’t be named in this article for legal reasons, has pledged to sign an affidavit to swear by what he witnessed. He said “ I saw masters tell Naima she didn’t need chemotherapy. Master Oh said he had cured himself of stomach cancer, and that he would help to cure her. Another master claimed she was healed of breast cancer, and Naima could be healed too. Master Oh also told many others in my presence he could cure them of different illnesses.”
Anti-cult expert Graham Baldwin, who runs the Catalyst charity which helps victims of cults and their families, said “This group prey on vulnerable, desperate people to abuse them financially and mentally. Any organization which suggest a girl with cancer should stop chemotherapy is not doing what could be expected of any charity. Innersound are never going to improve anyone’s chances of recovering from a terminal illness. They should lose their charitable status, and police need to investigate them under the 1939 Cancer Act which forbids false claims for cancer cures.”
Naima, who grew up in Winchester, paid £9,000 for ancestral healing and parted with another £7,000 for other oriental therapies including meditation, chanting and to pay for for elaborate ceremonies. Patients are made to belch and hiss in the belief this will get rid of the ‘bad energy’ that is making them sick.
Naima originally contacted Innersound for spiritual enlightenment after hearing about them from a fellow soldier, and was diagnosed with breast cancer the following year. Her close friend Dulcie Fernandez said “Naima is very sorry that she ever went to Innersound and she would want it known that their treatments don’t work.”
I met Naima at her lodgings in London in July. She said “I was given the firm impression by the masters that chemotherapy wasn’t going to work for me. They told me this, and they seemed so knowledgeable, so genuine and compassionate I believed them. I’m a soldier, a professional, and I am not a gullible person, but they influenced me at a time when I was highly vulnerable, promising me life-saving things I desperately wanted to believe. I wish now that I hadn’t.”
Cult expert lawyer Claire Kirby helped Naima last year get a £12k refund from Innersound, who say they repaid the money out of compassion and accept no liability for Naima’s then failing heath.
Kirby claimed Innersound used ‘undue influence’ to extract monies, by befriending Naima and winning her confidence. In a letter to them she says “…(our client) was encouraged to trust and revere the masters and to believe in the teachings of Innersound including that the treatments and trainings had an excellent success rate of getting people with cancer better again. Master Oh stated that our client did not need chemotherapy, and that if she committed herself to the program could heal herself of cancer.’
Innersound’s therapies use techniques derived from those used by a South Korean couple jailed in 2000 for conning their followers out of £44 million. Mo Haeng Yong and Park Gui Dal were imprisoned in Seoul for 8 and 5 years respectively. Innersound deny associations with the couple, although they have visited them in the UK.
Ki Health were forced to change their name to Innersound after being exposed by a British newspaper in 2008. They now are alls using the name Qi Wellness. Frequent name-changing is routine among cults who want to distance themselves from negative publicity and law enforcement. The UK anti-cult movement is lobbying the Charity Commission for it to withdraw Innersound’s charitable status.