ReligionNewsBlog, Nov. 1-3, 2004
- ReligionNewsBlog, Nov. 1-3, 2004
Wed, Nov. 03, 2004
[USA] US Media Mishandle the Story on 100,000 Dead Iraqi Civilians
The Lancet, a British medical journal, just published results of a study
led by academics from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine that reported a
surprisingly high number of civilian deaths in Iraq. The story broke three
days before the US elections, on November 29, and even where it received
prominent coverage, there has been little or no follow-up in the US. The
media coverage of this information around the world, however, was much
more intense, with quite a different focus.
The discrepancy between coverage of this story in the US as compared to
the international treatment is dramatic, allowing the observer to infer
that news coverage is being distorted in the US.
[Trinity Broadcasting Network] TBN airs reruns in wake of scandal
The Trinity Broadcasting Network kicked off its twice-annual fund-raising
drive Monday with reruns, an unprecedented move partly prompted by
allegations that its founder had engaged in a homosexual tryst.
Officials at TBN, the world's largest religious broadcaster, are hoping
that the reruns, honed to present the best moments of past telethons, will
keep viewers' donations coming.
[Jehovah's Witnesses] When Jehovah’s Witnesses knock, DVD resource tells
what to do
To help Southern Baptists and other evangelicals prepare for the
inevitable knock at the door, NAMB has produced the third in a series of
resources which explain what specific cults believe and how they operate
-- and how to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with their followers.
“In the Name of Jehovah: Understanding Jehovah’s Witnesses” is an
educational program that can be shown in its entirety for special worship
services or in conference settings. The DVD is formatted in segments
appropriate for groups or for individual study and includes a discussion
[Islam] Analysis: Suspected Islamist killing tests Dutch tolerance
The killing of a filmmaker critical of Islam puts new strains on Dutch
traditions of tolerance and will fuel demands for tougher treatment of
immigrants, analysts and commentators said on Wednesday.
Theo van Gogh, who angered Muslims with a film that said Islam encouraged
violence against women, was shot dead on Tuesday. A man with Dutch and
Moroccan nationality was arrested for the killing, and suspected of
Islamic extremist motives.
[Islam] Eight suspected Islamic radicals arrested in van Gogh murder
Dutch police have arrested eight suspected Islamic radicals as part of the
investigation into the brutal slaying of outspoken filmmaker Theo van
Gogh, prosecutors said Wednesday.
[Voodoo] Voodoo 'snared girl as sex slave'
A teenager was turned into a "sex slave" by two sisters who threatened her
with voodoo, a court has heard.
Mr Gadsen explained that "she believed Negi, through her aunt, was capable
of exerting some voodoo influence over her which stopped her from leaving
"It was just as effective as if she had been chained and manacled.
[Anglican / Episcopal Church] 'Men-only branch' plan for Church
The Anglican church could set up a 'male clergy only' branch under
proposals aimed at ending the row over whether women can be bishops.
The new province, with its own archbishop, is one of several options set
out in the Church of England report which was published on Tuesday.
[Catholic Church] Ghanaians flock to see 'miracle'
Thousands of people in Ghana's capital, have been thronging to a Catholic
Church where they claim the image of Jesus Christ has appeared on a wall.
They compare the image to that of the Biblical Virgin Mary who is said to
have appeared at Lourdes, in France.
[Kabbalah] Boca Raton to get newer, bigger Kabbalah center
Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism, has touched more than 3 million people
worldwide. Now, Kabbalah is expanding in South Florida.
The 10-year-old Boca Raton Kabbalah Centre, affiliated with the Kabbalah
Learning Centre in Los Angeles, is building a new 37,000-square-foot home
at its current location at 8411 W. Palmetto Park Road. The new building
will include an international healing and retreat center.
[Islam] The freedom to criticise the Koran
Tuesday's murder of Theo van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who criticised
Islamic practices, reminds all of a nagging truth: that more than 15 years
after the Iranian Government issued a death warrant against novelist
Salman Rushdie, dissenting with Muslims remains a risky business.
As a Muslim reformer, I speak from experience. My book, The Trouble with
Islam, has put me on the receiving end of anger, hatred and vitriol.
That's because I'm asking questions from which we Muslims can no longer
hide. Why, for example, are we squandering the talents of half of God's
creation, women? What's with the stubborn streak of anti-Semitism in Islam
[Lord's Resistance Army] ICC to issue Kony warrant of arrest
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is planning to issue warrants of
arrest against Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony and seven
of his commanders.
[Theo van Gogh] Suspected Extremist Jailed in Dutch Murder
A suspected Muslim extremist with alleged terrorist ties was under arrest
Wednesday in the death of a Dutch filmmaker who criticized the treatment
of women under Islam.
Theo van Gogh, 47, was repeatedly shot and stabbed to death on an
Amsterdam street on Tuesday.
[Yoga] Yoga's gone mainstream
Nomiyama is one of an estimated 35 million Americans who will try yoga for
the first time this year. Once confined to New Agers with an interest in
Eastern spirituality, yoga is catching on among young men, fitness
fanatics, aging baby boomers and other unlikely enthusiasts who claim the
mind/body practice does everything from heal illness to tighten abs.
Nationally, yoga is a $22.5 billion industry.
[Psychics] Ex-mayor pleads guilty to using money for psychic readings
The former mayor and bookkeeper of the small city of La Grulla pleaded
guilty Tuesday to charges they used federal grant money to pay for tens of
thousands of dollars in psychic consultations.
[Polygamy] New start for Kingston wife
Foster is ready, not just to move, but to move heaven and earth to get her
And this is just the first of many steps Foster, 33, has taken since 3rd
District Juvenile Judge Andrew Valdez removed eight of her 11 children
from her home and sent her to a domestic violence shelter. Valdez also
ordered her to have no contact with members of "The Order" - the insular
Davis County Co-Operative Society founded by the family of her children's
father, polygamist John Daniel Kingston.
With that order, the judge took away Foster's job, home, church, family
and friends. Get a new home, he said, and a new job.
And, believing that proving her independence will bring her children home,
Tue, Nov. 02, 2004
[Theo van Gogh] Some 20,000 Dutch gather to pay homage to slain
Some 20,000 people gathered in Amsterdam to pay homage to controversial
Dutch filmmaker and columnist Theo van Gogh who was murdered in the street.
Instead of holding a silent wake protesters on Amsterdam's central Dam
Square made as much noise as possible, banging pots and pans and blowing
horns and whistles. The friends and family of Van Gogh had asked for
people to make as much noise as possible in support of the freedom of
"The freedom of speech is a foundation of our society and that foundation
was tampered with today," Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen said, after the
deafening noise had subsided.
[Theo van Gogh] Life of slain Dutch filmmaker
The murder of Dutch movie director Theo van Gogh comes two months after
his highly controversial film, Submission - about the abuse of Muslim
women - was shown on national TV in Holland.
Theo van Gogh's name was better-known around the world because he shared
it with his great-great-grandfather, the brother of artist Vincent van
But in the Dutch film community, he was a well-known figure and has been
described as the Netherlands' Michael Moore.
Submission may have only been a 10-minute English-language short, but it
caused uproar in his home country when it was broadcast at the end of
The outcry centred on the stories of four Muslim women who were beaten,
raped and forced into marriage, and were asking for Allah's help.
[Solomon Key] 'Da Vinci' writer's next: 'Solomon Key'
"The Solomon Key" will be the third novel by Brown to include the
character Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor of religious symbology.
The new book's primary focus will be the Freemasons, the secretive
fraternity that has included some of the nation's founding fathers, and it
will be set in Washington.
[USA] Expatica.com: Why expats must vote for Kerry
The US Administration's policies over the so-called War on Terror, with
its false claims of an imminent threat from Iraq to justify an early rush
to war in the Middle East, have transformed opinion about the country from
that of it being a victim of an appalling attack that deserved sympathy
and solidarity — into an unruly bully boy.
And worse, it has turned a country that gave hope to the rest of the world
through the ideals of democracy and freedom — and a promise of a better
life — to one that, thanks to Iraq, rests on deceit.
While Bush's "with us or with the terrorists" policy might go down well
within the United States among voters far removed from developments
unfolding in the rest of the world, it hasn't worked so well with many
Americans this side of the Atlantic.
[Theo van Gogh] Dutch Filmmaker Theo Van Gogh Murdered
A Dutch filmmaker who had received death threats after releasing a movie
criticizing the treatment of women under Islam was slain in Amsterdam on
Tuesday, police said.
Filmmaker Theo van Gogh had been threatened after the August airing of the
movie "Submission," which he made with a right-wing Dutch politician who
had renounced the Islamic faith of her birth. Van Gogh had received police
protection after its release.
[Al-Qaeda] Bin Laden's message: a call to bleed the United States
Osama bin Laden vowed to bleed America to bankruptcy, according to a full
transcript of unaired portions of a videotape released Monday by an Arab
television station. The al-Qaida leader's remarks appeared targeted to the
final days of the U.S. presidential campaign in which the struggling
economy is a major issue.
Bin Laden boasted in his first appearance in more than a year that for
every $1 al-Qaida has spent on terrorist strikes, it has cost the United
States $1 million in economic fallout and military spending, including
emergency funding for Iraq and Afghanistan.
[Religious Freedom] Prisoners' lawsuit has religious import for all
Mention "prisoners' rights" and public reaction ranges from indifference
to hostility. This is especially true in the Ohio case, Cutter v.
Wilkinson, because the plaintiffs belong to unconventional religions such
as Asatru (a polytheistic religion) and groups like Satanists.
But principles at stake in this case guard religious freedom for everyone.
[Theo van Gogh] Dutch director Theo van Gogh murdered in Amsterdam
Van Gogh, 47, directed the controversial movie Submission — written by
Somali-born MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali — which criticised the Koran for
sanctioning domestic violence in Islamic communities.
He recently received numerous death threats following the release of
Submission. He was also making a movie about populist Dutch politician Pim
Fortuyn who was assassinated in Hilversum in May 2002. The film is due for
release on the internet via Tiscali in several weeks time.
[Christianity] Koreans Quietly Introducing Jesus to Muslims in Mideast
A South Korean missionary here speaks of introducing Jesus in a "low voice
and with wisdom" to Muslims, the most difficult group to convert. In
Baghdad, South Koreans plan to open a seminary even after Iraqi churches
have been bombed in two recent coordinated attacks. In Beijing, they defy
the Chinese government to smuggle North Koreans to Seoul while turning
them into Christians.
South Korea has rapidly become the world's second largest source of
Christian missionaries, only a couple of decades after it started
deploying them. With more than 12,000 abroad, it is second only to the
United States and ahead of Britain.
[Islam] Mosque demolished as mobs attack sect in Kattankudy
Police Sunday declared unofficial curfew in Kattankudy, a large Muslim
town 5 kilometres south of Batticaloa, after mobs demolished a mosque and
several houses and buildings belonging to an Islamic sect.
[Ahmadiyya] Minority sect mosque attacked in Bangladesh
At least 15 people were injured when a mosque of a minority Muslim sect
was attacked in Bangladesh Friday.
Around 300 activists from local madrassas and mosques attacked the
Ahmadiya Muslim Jamaat mosque at Bhadughar in the southeastern
Brahmanbaria district, about 162 km from here.
[Theo van Gogh] Report: Dutch filmmaker murdered
A Dutch filmmaker who criticized the treatment of women under Islam in a
recent movie and in newspaper columns was murdered in Amsterdam, media
[Theo van Gogh] Filmmaker Theo van Gogh killed
During his entire career, Theo van Gogh (47) courted controversy. One of
his most recent productions dealt with violence against women in Islamic
societies and prompted many death threats. The author of the film,
Conservative MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, has been under police protection since it
was aired on Dutch national television. Mr Van Gogh was working on a film
about Pim Fortuyn, the anti-establishment and anti-immigrant politician
who was shot dead two years ago.
[Theo van Gogh] Controversial Dutch Filmmaker Shot Dead
Amsterdam police said Van Gogh had been stabbed and shot in the center of
the city. Van Gogh's short feature film "Submission" angered some Dutch
Muslims for its portrayal of a Muslim woman who is abused by her husband.
[Gilbert Deya Ministries] FBI to probe 'miracle babies' saga
Two officers attached to the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) are
in the country to investigate the "miracle babies" saga.
Top on their agenda is to investigate some of Archbishop Gilbert Deya’s
investments in Kenya since he settled in the UK.
Mon, Nov. 01, 2004
[Peoples Temple] New revelations on Jonestown tragedy
"Everybody has assumed until recently that all 912 Jonestown residents,
including Jones, died on the same day -- Nov. 18, 1978," said Fielding
McGehee, who oversees the Jonestown Institute with his wife, Rebecca
Moore, whose sisters and nephew died in Jonestown.
But the tape found in Jonestown that the FBI labeled Q-875 appears to have
been made many hours later, possibly on Nov. 19, McGehee said. The tape is
one of 900 McGehee and Moore obtained from the FBI under a Freedom of
Information Act request.
[USA] Cherie Blair attacks legality of Guantanamo detentions
Cherie Blair has mounted a fresh attack on the legality of some of the
Bush administration's decisions by challenging the legal basis of the
imprisonment of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay.
Downing Street conceded yesterday that she did make the criticisms, in a
lecture to law students at Harvard University, for which she was not paid.
But it said her remarks should not be interpreted as political.
In a previous lecture, she criticised the US administration's refusal to
sign up to the international criminal court.
[USA] George W. Bush and the 'politics of fear'
To convince American opinion - and indeed President Bush himself - that
war against Iraq was necessary for American security, prominent neocons
like Douglas Feith, assistant secretary for policy at the Pentagon, and
his boss Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, did not hesitate to
fabricate and manipulate intelligence to show that Saddam Hussein was
linked to Al-Qaeda and had rebuilt his WMD arsenal. This deception lies at
the root of many of America's current problems.
It is now widely recognized that administration lawyers, in the Department
of Justice and the White House, devised arguments to bypass international
laws and treaties preventing the ill-treatment of prisoners in wartime.
They found ways to say that the Geneva Conventions did not necessarily
apply to "enemy combatants" and that the President, as commander-in-chief,
had the right to authorize torture.
These shameful betrayals of legal norms opened the way for the even more
shameful abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, where terrible methods were
used to get information about Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the Iraqi
insurgents. The stain on America's reputation will not easily be erased,
especially as no one in real authority has yet been held to account.
[Kabbalah] Give me back my old Madonna
Raquel Hecker used to worship at the same Kabbalah centre as the singer.
Now she's become disillusioned - both with mystic Judaism and with her
[Satanic and/or ritual abuse] Revealed: past lies of abuse witness
A woman whose claims of Satanic child sex abuse helped put eight people in
the dock had a history of making false allegations, which was known to
police, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.
Angela Stretton was the key police witness in the Lewis abuse case which
collapsed this summer with charges against all the accused being dropped.
An investigation by this newspaper has revealed that Stretton was
convicted of making false allegations of child abuse in 1987, and that
Scots police were aware of her track record of false claims before
deciding to press charges.
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