225Religion News Blog, June 27, 2003
- Jun 27, 2003ReligionNewsBlog.com, June 27, 2003
[Islam] A trap for Muslim women in Europe
Western Europe is increasingly a house divided against itself. While non-Muslim
Europeans live in democracies, most Muslims in the same countries inhabit
theocratic enclaves where they are expected to tread a narrow path or suffer the
Muslim women have it worst. Not only are they subject to the often tyrannical
authority of husbands, fathers and community leaders, if they seek to escape
that authority, they cannot necessarily expect support from the police and other
government agencies, which often feel that "intruding" in such matters would
show disrespect for immigrant culture.
[Nokulunga Fiphaza] Three in court for mysterious Umtata grave case
Bongani Ntanjana, the investigating officer in the case, told the court the
post-mortems had been completed, but said he was not in a position to say how
the deceased had died. The case was postponed to September 1, and the accused
were ordered not to go near the compound until the case had been finalised.
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Church moves to relocate civil trial
The Church of Scientology says that media coverage of the landmark Lisa
McPherson wrongful death case has turned back the clock to days of "overt hate
mongering and media-fueled public animus" and it can no longer get a fair trial
in Tampa Bay.
The church on Wednesday filed a motion seeking to move the wrongful death trial
to either Palm Beach or Broward county.
Church attorneys blame a "barrage of negative media coverage" about the lawsuit
for widespread community prejudice against Scientology, documented in a random
survey of shoppers at Tyrone Square Mall in early spring.
NOTE: Lying and other unethical behavior is part and parcel of Scientology's
teachings and practices - behavior taught, condoned, and promoted by the hate
group's founder, L. Ron Hubbard. It is the cult's own record of hate and
harassment activities that continues to influence public opinion.
[Hate Groups] White supremacist charged with lying to federal judge
The jailed leader of a white supremacist group, already charged with soliciting
the murder of a federal judge, was accused in a fresh indictment Wednesday of
obstructing justice by lying to her as well.
Matthew Hale, 31, of East Peoria was accused of lying to U.S. District Judge
Joan Humphrey Lefkow in a letter he wrote to her last December concerning a
copyright infringement lawsuit against his organization.
The charge came on top of an indictment announced in January accusing Hale of
soliciting Lefkow's murder after she ruled against him in the copyright case.
[Hate Groups] White supremacist leader faces more charges
Federal prosecutors hit white supremacist Matt Hale with new and more detailed
charges Wednesday, including allegations that Hale appreciated violence done on
behalf of his racist church because it focused media attention on him and his
[Jehovah's Witnesses] Watchtower site may soon be up for sale
A giant waterfront building owned by the Jehovah's Witnesses in Brooklyn Heights
could soon go on the block - with an early estimated price tag of $120 million.
The society used the building as its principal shipping facility for Bibles and
publications - and has for years been plagued by community complaints of truck
pollution and noise.
Last fall, the Jehovah's Witnesses decided to shift the shipping facility to
their Wallkill, N.Y., center and other facilities around the world, said Daniel
Rice, a spokesman for the group.
[Nokulunga Fiphaza] Cops dig for more graves at Eastern Cape church
It was reported that the perimeter of the compound was excavated while police
searched for more bodies that could still be buried.
However, nothing was found.
[Nokulunga Fiphaza] Residents raid cult buildings
Local police were shouldered aside as chanting Mandela Park residents broke
locks and entered the controversial Ibandla lika Krestu church with a crowbar
As anti-crime committee members entered, onlookers shouted vula vula, vula (open
Police refused residents' demands to demolish the houses and check the
foundations for more bodies. Other residents suggested the houses be burnt.
[Nokulunga Fiphaza] Member of cult church speaks out
Ex-members of the controversial cult known as the Awaiting Christ Group, or
Ibandla lika Krestu, have been left numb by the closure of their church at
Mandela Park here.
While Mandela Park community members called for the building to be demolished
yesterday, the Daily Dispatch, flanked by community leader Chief Jongisizwe
Ndzambule, visited former cult members.
A short distance from the church compound, 26-year-old Busisiwe Ncetani sat
outside a two-roomed mud house with her Bible.
She was reportedly the closest cult member to its leader, Nokulunga Fiphaza, and
the last person to see her, but has refused to give information to the police.
Ncetani lashed out at those who called the cult the Awaiting Jesus Group. "Our
church has no name, it is just a group of born-again Christians," she said.
The group is fuelled spiritually by a strict regimen of four daily prayer
sessions and marathon fasts that last 20 or 30 days.
[Islam] Schumer Warns of Extremist Imams in NY Prisons
Sen. Charles Schumer testified before a Senate panel Thursday, warning that
extremist imams are a dangerous influence in New York's and the nation's prison
systems, and possibly the United States military.
Schumer spoke to a Senate judiciary subcommittee on terrorism during the first
of several scheduled hearings into links between the Wahabi school of Islam and
The committee heard from several witnesses, including a Treasury Department
official who described connections between supposed charity groups and terror
Schumer, D-N.Y., has argued the Wahabi sect is led by radical extremists
fostering hate and violence against non-Muslims and non-Wahabi Muslims, like
Shias and moderate Sunnis.
[Mormon Church] Web sites provide confidential community for former and wavering
Eight years ago, Eric Kettunen built the Web site exmormon.org to help people
who were struggling with their decision to leave the Mormon church.
He hoped to offer a dozen or so people the kind of help and support others had
given him and his wife when they left the faith years earlier. It took two
months to get 2,000 ''hits'' on the site. Now, exmormon.org gets that many in 15
The main draw: Mormons who wouldn't dream of questioning church doctrine or
history publicly can do so privately as part of a large online community where
people aren't required to identify themselves.
While there are people who post bitter messages on exmormon.org calling for the
church's downfall, most participants seek clarification on church teachings or
ask for help and support as they make their decisions to leave the church and
suffer the subsequent personal and family turmoil.
[Eric Rudolph] Rudolph named in new indictment
grand jury re-indicted Eric Rudolph in a deadly abortion clinic bombing in
Alabama, issuing a new capital charge to comply with a court ruling issued
during the five years he was a fugitive.
The two-count indictment, announced Thursday, replaced one issued in November
2000 and spelled out the aggravating circumstances prosecutors could use to seek
the death penalty.
A statement by prosecutors said the new indictment was to comply with a decision
last year in which the Supreme Court said judges could not determine aggravating
circumstances on their own.
[Al Ma'unah] Malaysian sect member gets life' for holy war
Malaysia's highest court Thursday substituted the death penalty for a sentence
of life imprisonment imposed on a Muslim sect member convicted of planning a
"holy war" to topple Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
The court handed down the decision after hearing appeals from 19 members of the
Al'Maunah group, three of whom had already been sentenced to death, while the
other 16 had been given life imprisonment, the official Bernama news agency
The martial arts sect, which taught members they were invulnerable to bullets,
sparked one of the country's biggest ever security alerts in July 2000 when they
disguised themselves as soldiers and stole more than 100 weapons from two
[Terrorism / Aum Shinrikyo] Ottawa aiming to thwart cyber-terrorists
Stepping up its war against on-line terrorism, the federal government is
launching an effort to anticipate and stop cyber-attacks before they happen.
In addition to having agents scour the Internet to get the latest buzz from
hacker chat groups, a key tool available to Ottawa could be so-called honey pots
-- special decoy computer systems placed on the Net that are designed to be
easily penetrated and gather detailed information about attacks, including the
techniques perpetrators use.
He says the one group to keep an eye on is Aum Shinri Kyo, the Japanese cult not
linked to any terrorist attacks since its 1995 sarin gas assault on Tokyo's
subway system but which potentially poses the greatest threat, since many of its
followers possess advanced computer skills.
[Falun Gong] Falun Gong Followers Claim Assault Outside U.N.
A group of Falun Gong followers said Thursday that they were verbally and
physically assaulted outside a Manhattan restaurant after a dinner party to
honor the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations.
The confrontation Monday night involved at least six practitioners who were
handing out fliers outside Yi Dong restaurant on East Broadway in Chinatown. The
fliers were critical of the Chinese government's treatment of Falun Gong
Falun Gong members said that after Ambassador Yingfan Wang and other diplomats
left the dinner, the dinner's organizers proceeded to slap the fliers out of
their hands and struck at least one practitioner, Jun Li, 48, of Flushing.
[Mormon Church] Waikato lecturer on Church hitlist
A Waikato University lecturer has been named on a website for Latter-Day Saints
American history senior lecturer Dr Raymond Richards has accused the Mormon
Church of irresponsible conduct after the site warns "if you don't want the
target shot at, don't raise it".
"I think the language is irresponsible, especially given the Mormon Church's
history of violence. They have a sordid history of polygamy and massacres."
He said he was not anti-Mormon but the religion was aggressive, racist and
[Cults] Reaching out to a higher power
"Doomsday" or "revitalisation cults", as they are also called, hold the promise
of salvation for their followers.
They occur in societies or groups that perceive themselves to be under some form
of threat - whether social or cultural - explains Thea de Wet, professor in the
department of Anthropology and developmental studies at the Rand Afrikaans
Although they seek to change the status quo, they are in line with and draw on
cultural traditions to legitimate themselves. Cults form around an alternative
explanation of the world which is perceived by cult members to be hostile and
[Nokulunga Fiphaza] Cults of doom
Closer to home, the bodies of more than 800 cult members were found at the
headquarters of the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God sect in Kanungu,
Uganda. They had been convinced by their leaders that the world would end on
December 31 1999. The followers were either slaughtered or died in a fire when
this did not happen.
Now police have dug up the bodies of eight members of the Awaiting Christ cult
in Umtata. They, too, had been brainwashed and taught that the day of reckoning
The Scriptures are quite clear that we must watch out for false prophets.
[Life Space] Bizarre cult boss gets reduced sentence
One of Japan's most bizarre murderers had his sentence slashed by more than half
after the Tokyo High Court ruled that he had not initially intended to kill his
The court cut by eight years the 15-year sentence the Chiba District Court had
handed out to Koji Takahashi, a self-professed guru and leader of the bizarre
cult, Life Space.
[Panawave] Cult earns 2.2 billion yen from followers
Just like most people with a television, police have been wondering what's
behind those white outfits.
Over 2.2 billion yen in donations, for one thing, the Metropolitan Police
Department announced Wednesday.
The white-robed cult that calls itself Pana Wave Laboratory collected the money
from its followers over the past 10 years, police said.
But police have concluded the group did not coerce members into donating, and
that it poses no danger to the public.
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