Religion News Blog, May 6-7, 2003
- ReligionNewsBlog.com, May 6- 7, 2003
May 7, 2003
[Mungiki] Media twisting my comments, says Murungaru
The minister said he had not defended Mungiki as claimed by the media
when suspected sect members caused mayhem in Kayole recently.
[Hate Groups] Rabbi speaks out against anti-Semitic propaganda
A local rabbi sided yesterday with the police decision to nab three
men accused of littering area lawns with anti-Semitic propaganda over
the weekend, saying the arrests might give the trio pause.
"The police should look for a legal excuse to lock them up even if
it's protected under the First Amendment," said Rabbi Mendy Kivman of
The National Alliance, a West Virginia-based white supremacist group,
penned the propaganda, urging people to warn their children about
Jews, end aid to Israel and attack the so-called "Jewish media
[Satanism] Officials: Animals Killed, Mutilated As Part Of Satanic
A dozen dogs, cats and deer were found dead -- mutilated and skinned
-- in Lorain County.
NewsChannel5's Debora Lee reported that officials believe a Satanic
cult is operating out of LaGrange Township.
[Panawave] Fukui Prefecture considers ways to block 'white cult'
Municipalities in Fukui Prefecture are considering sealing off roads
in a bid to block the notorious white-garbed Panawave Laboratory cult
from occupying areas in their territories, officials said Wednesday.
The Izumi and Ono municipal governments are discussing sealing off
roads leading to Fukui where the cult has its main "laboratory."
[Church / State] A large-scale battle over a small cross
Court case tests whether a cross in the Mojave National Preserve
breaches the church-state wall.
[Islam] Iraq's clerics divided on role
The return of these clerics to their communities in the holy cities of
Najaf and Karbala could to some extent influence the kind of
government Iraqi Shia are seeking in their country.
The United States has accused Iran of sending agents into Iraq to
promote an Iranian-style theocracy, but most Iraqi Shia clerics are
advocating a separation of religion and state.
[Sabbatharians] Kentucky Sabbatharians Prepare For Armageddon
One religious sect, however, is counting down the days from a
strange-looking compound on a Grayson County hilltop, WLKY NewsChannel
32's John Boel reported Monday.
Many people have been wondering what's going on up on that hilltop.
The compound is growing, and so is suspicion. The Sabbatharians say
the war in Iraq is just another sign that the end of the earth is
near, fulfilling biblical prophecy, Boel reported.
[Mungiki] 'Mungiki': Why the Laxity?
This is the first time that Mungiki was in the limelight since its
leaders went underground earlier in the year over suspicions of
perpetrating the killing of 60 people in the Rift Valley provincial
capital of Nakuru. The previous week, police had just bonded the
sect's leader Ndura Waruinge to keep the peace or face charges of
inciting Mungiki members to violence.
If Mungiki's atrocities were bizarre, their defence by the Minister
for Internal Security and Provincial Administration Dr Chris Murungaru
was perplexing. The minister argued that Mungiki was not a criminal
gang but a semi-religious organisation.
He went further to explain that many criminal gangs operating in the
Eastlands estates of the city were masquerading as Mungiki members to
extort money from public transport vehicle operators. Quite a gem from
the pharmacist, who recently just chuckled off claims associating him
with Mungiki activities.
Dr Murungaru ought to know that the government he represents has vowed
to fight insecurity and any threats to individual life and property.
It does not matter whether that threat is posed by a "semi-religious"
organisation or a criminal gang.
[Ravi Shankar] Breathing lessons: Indian spiritual leader's meditation
world tour comes to Bay Area
In India, he's like a rock star, attracting tens of thousands wherever
he goes. But this Ravi Shankar isn't the sitar player who hung out
with the Beatles. He's a spiritual teacher. A guru who's brought
lessons of joy, peace and yoga to more than 2 million people in more
than 140 countries.
[Hate Groups: Scientology] Kennedy Takes Aim at Ritalin Provision
Psychiatrists and at least one lawmaker are taking on the Church of
Scientologys support for a provision in a House special education
bill that seeks to prevent teachers from requiring students to take
medication for attention-deficit disorder.
Its a wolf in sheeps clothing, said Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.)
of the provision that was added to the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act reauthorization, which passed the House last week. I
suspect it probably had its antecedents in the community that believes
that all medication for kids with [attention-deficit disorder] is
Kennedy and members of the psychiatric profession say the provision,
which has been aggressively backed by the Scientology-founded Citizens
Commission on Human Rights, is an attempt to achieve what opponents
charge is Scientologys broader goal of abolishing the field of
NOTE: Like Scientology itself, its anti-psychiatry front group CCHR is
a hate group
[Hate Groups: Scientology] House nixes honor for substance-abuse
On Thursday, freshman Rep. Terry Harrison, D-McAlester, appeared
surprised that his Senate Concurrent Resolution 29, sponsored in the
Senate by Sen. Frank Shurden, D-Henryetta, sparked opposition.
The resolution commends Narconon Arrowhead, a nationally recognized
drug and alcohol treatment facility located at a former state lodge in
The measure doesn't mention the facility's ties to Scientology.
The resolution failed 43-50. It had passed the Senate a day earlier,
but not before Shurden fielded questions on the facility's licensing
with the state.
[Ahmadiyya] Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, 74, Leader of Muslim Sect, Who
Claimed to Be Prophet, Dies
Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, spiritual leader of the evangelical
Ahmadiyya Muslim sect, which seeks to reinterpret Islamic doctrine in
the light of the modern age, died on April 23 in London, where he had
lived since fleeing Pakistan in 1984. He was 74.
[Reiji Kiraku Nijokai] Religious guru dupes disciple out of 123
Emiko Hirabayashi, leader of the Reiji Kiraku Nijo-kai religious
group, talked the victim into handing over the money by saying, "Banks
will go under any time now. It's much safer to entrust the money to
me," and "I have to purify the money to revitalize your fortune." In
reality, she used the money to cover her heavy debts.
[Panawave] Pana Wave sect convoy eyes Yamanashi base
About 50 members of the Pana Wave Laboratory sect, known for its white
attire and its belief that the world will descend into chaos on May
15, cut across Nagano Prefecture on Tuesday, apparently heading for a
facility it owns in Yamanashi Prefecture.
On Monday morning, a statement was issued by the group, allegedly
featuring the words of Pana Wave leader Yuko Chino, a 69-year-old
woman who is reported to have terminal cancer.
Pana Wave members said her condition is slowly deteriorating.
According to the statement, which is characterized by strange jargon,
the "approach of the Nibiru star will be delayed nearly a week from
Monday, and those who do not listen to this message will face death."
[Alternative Healing] Parents, prosecutors battle over brain surgery
for Michigan toddler
Surgeons say 2-year-old Noshin Hoque will probably die within a year
or two unless the tumor growing deep in her brain is removed. But the
operation itself will probably kill her or leave her blind or
Given those odds, the little girl's parents, Jalaz and Shaheda Hoque,
decided not to let doctors operate, and instead started taking her to
a Montreal homeopath for herbal and nutritional treatments in hopes of
But now Michigan prosecutors have taken the Hoques to court to force
them to go ahead with the surgery in a case that revisits the question
of who should decide what is best for the child when it comes to
lifesaving medical treatment.
[Neil and Christy Edgar] Parents, baby sitter of Brian Edgar to be
They were charged together, and now the parents and baby sitter of
Brian Edgar will be tried together for his death.
A Johnson County judge today rejected Christy Edgar's argument that
she could not receive a fair trial if tried with her husband, Neil
The Edgars, and their family's 19-year-old baby sitter, Chasity Boyd,
are charged with first-degree felony murder in Brian's death in
The 9-year-old suffocated after he allegedly was wrapped head-to-toe
in duct tape as a punishment at the family's Overland Park home,
according to previous court testimony.
[Panawave] Japan cult guru 'close to death'
The alleged leader of a mysterious Japanese cult has said that she
will die in the next few days.
The woman, who claimed to be Yuko Chino, the guru of the Pana Wave
Laboratory, told Fuji TV that she would lose her fight with cancer in
four to five days.
Members of her group have threatened to take revenge for her death
with the extermination "of all humankind".
[Panawave] Doomsday cult claims stray seal as savior of humanity
The convoy of white-garbed Panawave Laboratory members entered the
central Japan prefecture of Yamanashi on Tuesday, and is heading
toward their final destination of Oizumi, where they are expected to
await the end of the world, which they claim will occur on May 15.
Despite claiming she is a terminally ill cancer patient, a
surprisingly animated and lively Chino argued that the most important
issue at the moment was to save "Tama-chan," a stray bearded seal that
now lives in a river in Saitama Prefecture.
"I will die in four or five days from now but that's nothing as
important as Tama-chan. We've been feeding him every day since last
summer," Chino told the Fuji reporter inside one of the cult's vans.
Sources said Panawave members believe that "rescuing" Tama-chan would
spare mankind from certain destruction on May 15 -- the day when a
massive earthquake triggered by the tilting of the Earth's axis will
devastated the planet, according to cultist publications.
Tensions are rising in Oizumi, where cult members have constructed
dome-shaped structures, which they claim to be resistant to any kind
of natural disaster, in preparations for doomsday. The Panawave
facility also has two makeshift swimming pools, apparently built to
house the wandering seal.
May 6, 2003
[Polygamy] Woman Obtains Order Against Polygamist
A 32-year-old Cedar City woman was granted a protective order Monday
against her polygamist husband and given temporary custody of their
Tamara Phelps, 32, one of several "spiritual wives" of Orson
William Black Jr., requested the order in 5th District Court in March.
Black had been charged Feb. 27 with two felony counts of conspiracy to
commit sexual conduct with a minor and three felony counts of sexual
conduct with a minor in Superior Court of Arizona for Mohave County.
Black's address is listed in court documents as Hildale, Utah,
which is right over the border from Colorado City, Ariz., where the
crimes allegedly occurred between 1998 and 2001.
The two communities are home to members of the Fundamentalist
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a breakaway sect that
[Panawave] Japanese cult guru gives her first interview
Wearing surgical-style white robes, flowing headgear and face masks,
they claim that white cloth can help them avoid exposure to harmful
electromagnetic waves sent out by communists.
The woman told Fuji: "I cannot live in one place because of
Tomoya Morishita, the Fuji reporter who obtained the exclusive
interview with her, told other journalists later that the woman, who
unlike her disciples, was dressed in a light-blue sweater and navy
blue trousers, was "just like an ordinary granny."
"She did not look like someone seriously ill," the reporter said. She
was quoted as saying, "I will be fine as long as I get energy from the
The reporter said the inside of the van was covered with white paper
and mysterious whirlpool patterns.
[Islamism] What drives Western Muslim adolescents into the arms of
fundamentalism and deliberate death?
The British police said on Friday that Sharif wasn't on their books.
They hadn't marked him down as a suspect. Nor did they know anything
about Asif Hanif, his alleged co-conspirator. Hanif did kill himself
and three innocent bystanders at the bar. The Hanifs lived in west
London and were more religious than the Sharifs. But then, friends of
Hanif said last week that his teenage religious passion was for
Sufism. If this is true, it's incredible. Sufi mysticism is about as
far away as you can get in Islam from the doctrines of Osama bin
To hear that someone who was once Sufi has turned himself into a human
bomb is like hearing that a former Anglican nun has bombed an abortion
The shock is becoming commonplace as terrorist tourism grows.
In all cases, friends remember the change brought by the embrace of a
suicidal faith which gave life and death purpose.
[Islamism] Making of a martyr: From pacifism to jihad
As the 2,000-strong congregation made its way home through the rain
last week, those who knew Hanif were still struggling to fit the
middle-class, learned and spiritual Muslim they knew to the picture of
the Islamic martyr that was emerging from Israel - a 'shaheed'
prepared to kill and be killed for the cause.
Hounslow mosque has a reputation as a moderate institution influenced
by a deeply mystical form Islam known as Sufism, based on meditation
and prayer. Followers of the radical Al-Muhajiroun group, which has
claimed Hanif as one of its own, were expelled from the mosque seven
Many close to Hanif still believe his identity may have been stolen,
so out of character does it seem for this gentle six-foot giant known
as 'the teddy bear' to have committed an act of violence.
[Islamism] Suicide bombing leaflets' UK link
Leaflets published in the Midlands urging Muslims to become suicide
bombers have been found in Israel's occupied territories. The
discovery fuels fears that Britain has become a haven for Islamic
Now Israeli authorities have demanded that Britain launch an immediate
investigation into al-Sunnah, the organisation based at Birmingham's
Centre for Islamic Studies, which published the leaflets.
One leaflet published just before the outbreak of war against Saddam
Hussein urges Muslims to become martyrs in Afghanistan, Iraq and
Palestine. Supporters are asked to send donations to a NatWest bank
account at its Digbeth branch in Birmingham.
The al-Sunnah group is known in radical Muslim circles for its
hard-core stance over the occupation of Palestine and the involvement
of Western governments in the support of Israel. However, the
organisation has had a generally low profile in Britain - until now.
[Polygamy] Struggling with Polygamy
Is the lifestyle an ongoing commandment from God or a religious excuse
[Human Rights Violations, USA] Death row Scot up for appeal
Amnesty International are to attend one of the final appeals available
to a Scottish man waiting on death row in America.
Kenny Richey has spent 16 years on death row after being convicted of
an arson attack on an apartment block that killed two-year-old Cynthia
The human rights organisation, which campaigns for the abolition of
the death penalty, said it was especially concerned at the case.
It described it as "one of the most compelling cases of innocence
human rights campaigners have ever seen."
Amnesty said new evidence has since emerged casting serious doubt on
the question of Mr Richey's guilt.
A spokesman said this new evidence appears to have been accepted by
the state, which nevertheless intends to press ahead with the
NOTE: According to some U.S. prosecutors, evidence of innocence is not
necessarily cause to stop an execution:
[Amish] Ohio to exempt Amish from insurance
Although businessman Atlee Kaufman pays the state about $4,000 a year
in workers' compensation premiums for his furniture parts store, he
says he'll never make a claim. It's against his beliefs.
He and other members of the Amish sect believe in taking care of one's
own liabilities and that filing an insurance claim goes against
Biblical principles of trusting in God.
"If we don't use it, why should we pay it?" asks Kaufman, 52, owner of
77 Coach Supply in Mount Hope, about 35 miles southeast of Akron.
Ohio lawmakers are finally listening. The state, like others with
large Amish or Mennonite populations, is set to exempt members of
religious sects from paying insurance premiums if it goes against
[Jehovah's Witnesses] Jehovists' congress foiled in Georgia
More than one hundred Christians on Sunday foiled a congress of the
Jehovah's Witnesses in the village of Ortasheni in Georgia's Gori
district. All approaches to the village were blocked.
[Christianity] Fab Four's friend lives by different tune
Ken Mansfield, a 30-year veteran of the music industry and close
friend of the Beatles, has lived a life of extremes.
When Mansfield was working in the music industry, he lived a lifestyle
filled with parties, drugs and decadence. He was a record company
executive who worked closely with the Fab Four when they were in the
Nowadays, his lifestyle fits at the other end of the spectrum, he
said, filled with the peace and serenity of knowing Jesus Christ.
Mansfield wrote a book called The Beatles, the Bible and Bodega Bay
and he's gotten e-mails and letters from pastors saying, ''Thank you
for delivering me. I can be a Beatles fan and a Christian, too.''
As for the Beatles themselves, Mansfield said, they never picked up
religion, except for George Harrison, who followed the Maharishi
[Hare Krishna] Trial to evict holy cows
A trial has begun in the New York Supreme Court for an injunction
seeking the eviction of two sacred cows and farm animals from the
home of a Hare Krishna couple in a village in the USA.
Mr Raymond Bulson, the lawyer representing the village of Angelica in
Allegany county, said Mr Steven Voith and Mrs Linda Voith did not have
a valid animal permit to house cows and other farm animals and hence
the litigation against them.
[Transcendental Meditation] Spiritual center must pay taxes
A spiritual center near Boone where patrons practice transcendental
meditation is not exempt from taxes, despite claims that it's an
educational institution, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday.
The decision reversed the Court of Appeals' opinion and upholds a
ruling by the N.C. Property Tax Commission that the Maharishi
Spiritual Center of America is not an educational, scientific or
charitable institution that qualifies for a tax exemption.
The center is part of the 7,000-acre Heavenly Mountain resort
established by followers of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Beatles'
guru and founder of the Transcendental Meditation movement.
In his own review, Tyson said he concluded that providing some short-
and long-term meditation courses, as well as Vedic science and
Sanskrit courses, did not qualify the spiritual center for tax
"Thus, while the spiritual center does offer some educational activity
that is not its primary purpose. The record clearly establishes that
the primary purpose of the spiritual center is the practice of
meditation" by adherents who have been a part of their group for 20
years, Tyson wrote.
[Human Rights] Andreas Heldal-Lund receives human rights award
In Leipzig, the city of the East German civil rights movement, we will
bestow the Human Rights Award of the European-American Citizens Rights
Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA to Mr.
Mr. Heldal-Lund is an Information Technology professional and free
speech proponent who created and maintains the most famous Internet
site in the world -- Operation Clambake http://www.xenu.net/ -- that
exposes and opposes the fraud and human rights violations of the
US-based Scientology organization.
Scientology has attacked Mr. Heldal-Lund and his Internet Service
Providers with lawyer threat letters and a black propaganda campaign,
and caused a succession of ISPs to terminate his service.
[Terry Nichols] Okla. Bomb Conspirator's Ex-Wife Testifies
Two days before the Oklahoma City bombing, conspirator Terry Nichols
called a U.S. senator's office to complain about the fiery end to the
Branch Davidian siege in Texas, an aide to the lawmaker testified
[Deepak Chopra] Golf with Deepak
If Deepak Chopra had written the Bible, Moses' staff would have been a
nine-iron and Jesus would have walked across a water hazard. According
to Chopra's new book, the road to spiritual enlightenment is a
For golfers seeking an excuse to skip church on Sundays, this is a
major theological breakthrough.
"Golf for Enlightenment" is the 35th book by Chopra, the New Age guru
whose résumé of spiritual accomplishments includes an essay titled
"Does God Have Orgasms?" and a $35-million libel lawsuit -- later
settled out of court -- that he called "an act of love" designed to
raise the magazine to "a higher state of awareness."
[Hate Groups] Zundel declared national security threat
Ernst Zundels controversial stay in Niagara might soon be over after
federal Immigration Minister Denis Coderre trumped his claim for
refugee status, declaring Zundel a threat to national security.
Zundel, notorious for his controversial views on the Holocaust,
complained the process smacked of a banana republic-style
[Human Rights Violations, USA] U.S. Frees 22 Terror Suspects From
The Pentagon released 22 prisoners Monday from the high-security
compound for terrorist suspects in Cuba, possibly including some
An defense official interviewed by The Associated Press had said he
believed juveniles were among those to be released. News that several
boys between the ages of 13 and 16 were among the prisoners drew
criticism earlier from human rights groups and a call for their
Some of the detainees have been held for a year and a half without
charges and without access to a lawyer.
NOTE: The sidebar included with this news item adequately explains why
Apologetics Index / Religion News Blog includes information about U.S.
human rights abuses.
[Zhong Gong] Exiled leader of Chinese spiritual movement charged in
The exiled leader of an outlawed Chinese spiritual movement has been
charged with beating and kidnapping his housekeeper, the Pasadena
Star-News reported Monday.
If convicted, Hongbao Zhang, also known as Zhang Hongbao, could face
deportation, and that could mean a death sentence in his native
country, according to experts on his movement.
Zhang was granted asylum in the United States in April 2001, after a
lengthy immigration trial. Politicians including then-Senate Majority
Leader Trent Lott and Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., were among those who
lobbied on his behalf.
Zhang founded the Zhong Gong movement in 1987. Millions practice its
exercises, which are similar to the traditional Chinese health
practice known as qigong.
Chinese authorities began cracking down on Zhang's group shortly after
a ban was imposed in 1999 on a similar and better-known sect, Falun
During his immigration process, Zhang's lawyer, Robert L. Shapiro,
said his client had been falsely accused by the Chinese government of
raping 20 women, forgery and illegal boundary crossing.
"The Chinese government outlawed his group as a cult and trumped up
false criminal charges against him," Shapiro said, adding that Zhang
would be executed if returned to China.
[Panawave] Cult decamps, issues bizarre statement about Tama-chan
About 50 members of a white-garment cult who had been camping on a
village road in Kiyomi, Gifu Prefecture, since last week resumed their
move Monday evening for the first time in 65 hours, but in a bizarre
development issued a statement about Japan's celebrity seal Tama-chan.
Panawave Laboratory issued a memo in the name of its leader calling
for the protection of the bearded seal, which has been spotted in
rivers around Tokyo since last year and has drawn much attention in
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