Love Thy Neighbour: January 2003 Archives

January 27, 2003

Man claims he's a witch, not a racist.

A man who erected a cross on an African-American woman's driveway, scrawled the words This is our property. Tho shalt not take on his house, called her racist names and hanged a black doll by the neck in his window was apparently practising Wicca, and not being a racist. It's a very weird version of Wicca:

On July 26, Dagenais constructed a wooden cross, placed it on the driveway and poured a liquid over the cross. The report says he was wearing a black skull cap and a black turtleneck. Dagenais said that for years he has practiced Wicca, a belief whose adherents practice a form of witchcraft. I put up a cross. I was sitting out there in black trying to scare them, he said. I didn't dress in a white cloak like the Ku Klux Klan.
On Aug. 15, McIntosh's estranged husband was at her house and saw a black-faced doll clothed and hanging by the neck in a porch window of Dagenais' house, facing toward the McIntosh home. The police report stated that a crucifix had been applied to the window with tape, and the garage door was painted with the number 666, a biblical reference to the devil. Subdivision trustees told Dagenais to remove the items. Dagenais said the doll was actually a black cat figure dressed in a brown dress.

FBI may decide whether neighbors' dispute is witchcraft - or racism - St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 26th January 2003.

January 22, 2003

Help oppressed women - keep them out of school.

The Dutch elections are today, and the Lijst Pim Fortuyn (LPF) are not expected to repeat their success, partly because of in-fighting and partly because the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDA) seem to be appealing to LPF voters. In Amsterdam, the CDA has said that it would ban the wearing of a burka or chador in the city's schools and colleges. They say that the garment hinders important non-verbal communication between students and teachers. Gijs Weenink told Het Parool (my translation, YMMV):

A chador or burka hinders communication. A good deal of communication is non-verbal. I am a teacher myself. During lessons, you can tell by looking at pupils' faces if they are paying attention , if they understand the material or if I need to give another example.

CDA wil burka totaal kwijt bij lessen - Het Parool, 22nd January 2003.

January 21, 2003

Singer's brother arrested for witchcraft.

Projects are under way in many parts of India to counter superstitious beliefs in witchcraft (see Witch-hunting in India - Prattle, 3rd October 2002), but it can't help that some parts of the country still have statutes against it. Raseeq Khan, brother of famous Punjabi singer Kuldeep Khan, has been arrested. Khan is a tantrik guru, and had been called in to help a boy with an illness, his parents believed, caused by witchcraft. He said that the house was full of evil spirits.

Khan told her that he would come to their house and drive away all the spirits. When Khan reached Ravinder's house at 6 pm on Monday, her husband was not at home.
Khan insisted on waiting for him. Ravinder after finishing some household works went to take bath.
She alleged that Khan then barged into the bathroom and had rubbed ash all over her body.

Punjabi singer's brother held for witchcraft - Times of India, 20th January 2003.

January 20, 2003

Cannibal admits murder.

The Indonesian cannibal (see Eat Thy Neighbour - Prattle, 16th January 2003) now says he has killed and eaten at least two other people in his quest for a 'peaceful soul'.

Sumanto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, claimed his goal was to eat at least seven human bodies to gain supernatural powers and ensure a peaceful soul.

He also saved and dried the penis of one man to use as an amulet. Indonesian confesses to cannibalistic quest - IOL, 20th January 2003.

January 17, 2003

Ex-satanist in bomb-plot

The trial is underway of a group of three South African men on charges of sabotage. It is allleged that they planned to blow up the Vaal Dam. The three are described as Boer right-wingers and had, at six stages of the plot, recited an oath:

The oath declares solemnly that the takers will establish a household for God if he should give the Boer people victory in the coming battle.

The plot would have been put into action on the seventh recitation. One of the three men claims to be a former devil worshipper who had been converted by another member of the gang:

It was earlier testified that Peacock converted Rautenbach from Satanism to Christianity after driving his devils out. Rautenbach lived with the Peacock family and was like a son to Leon Peacock, the court was told.

Would-be bombers took 'Blood River' oath - News24, 17th January 2003.

Child 'sorcerers' abused by churches.

Parents in the Democratic Republic of Congo are accusing their children of witchcraft in increasing numbers when things go wrong, and they end up in the hands of churches who extract outrageous confessions from them before 'exorcising' them.

Nzuzi, an eight-year-old with a sad face, said she was tricked by some class mates.
They gave me some bread at school. It was poisoned and they came to get it back later.
Nzuzi said that when her family slept, she would sneak out to join her friends to fly in the night sky.

The forced exorcisms are often simply abuse. Ange Bay Bay, a children's rights lawyer, told the BBC

There are children who are ironed with a clothes iron, there are others who are not given food for a whole week - there are these unbelievable things going on.

DR Congo's unhappy child 'witches' - BBC News, 17th January 2003.

January 16, 2003

Eat Thy Neighbour

An Indonesian man has been charged after he allegedly exhumed his neighbour and ate her flesh. A psychiatric examination is being arranged after he claimed that eating human flesh would give him supernatural powers. Indonesian law does not recognise cannibalism as an offence, and he will only face up to a year in prison for digging up a corpse. 'Man feeds dead neighbour to unwitting dad' - IOL, 16th January 2003.

Oh no, not again.

German police are taking seriously the allegations of a 34-year-old woman who claims that babies are eaten and women raped as part of Satanic initiation rituals. Similar stories were circulated by Christian fundamentalist groups in the UK during the late 1980s and early 90s, and many children were taken into care as a result of allegations which proved to be totally groundless. The Times reports that German media are linking this with the recent case of a self-confessed cannibal, although there are no indications whatsoever that he credited his (apparently consensual!) act with any religious significance. German Satanists 'ate babies' - The Times , 16th January 2003 (via the rather excellent Gullibility isn't in the dictionary).

January 15, 2003

Witch murder suspect arrested.

A 32-year old man arrested in Kabompo, Zambia, is believed to be the leader of a gang responsible for the murder of a number of elderly people on suspicion they were practising witchcraft.

[North-Western police chief Innocent] Kalebwe said the suspected serial killer who, had no fixed abode used to be paid by people including young boys to kill suspected witches and wizards in the two provinces.
You know in these areas, there is no normal death. They strongly believe that any death of a young person is caused by witchcraft. So, many people have been killed by hired killers on such suspicions.
We tried to infiltrate the villagers, but we could not capture the suspects because they were liked by the young as they were saved from deaths by the hired killers. Even if they knew where the suspect was, they could not reveal to the police, so it was very difficult.

The suspect is in hospital after receiving a couple of bullet wounds when he tried to flee arresting officers. Karavina Gang Leader Arrested - The Times of Zambia (via, 15th January 2003.

January 11, 2003

Exploiting the fear of terrorism

Japan: A man has been arrested in Osaka after he allegedly tried to extort money from a camera shop by pretending to be a member of a militant Islamic group.

Hokazono visited Big Camera's Nanba outlet in Naniwa-ku, Osaka, Thursday evening, and handed a letter to a female employee demanding 60 million yen in cash, police said.

I'm a member of an Islamic radical organization. I've set a bomb to go off in your shop. Hand over 60 million yen and I'll tell you where it is, the letter read.

He later made several threatening phone calls to the shop. Police traced a call he made Friday evening, and arrested him.

A small incendiary device was found.

'Islamic radical' plants fire bomb in Osaka camera shopMainichi Daily News, 11th January 2003.

January 9, 2003

Twelve charged for witch hunt

Twelve people have appeared in court in Namibia on charges relating to an incident in which two women were illegally detained and threatened with death. The mob believed the women had bewitched a man who had recently drowned. 12 in Court for Witch-Hunt - The Namibian (via, 9th January 2003.

Satanist eats mother

According to police, a Texas man convicted of murder for beating his mother to death and eating part of her heart claimed he did so because he was a Satanist and was upset that the police had disturbed his sacrifice. 'I'm a devil-worshipper and I ate my mother' - IOL, 9th January 2003.

'Demon' neighbour killed

A California man has been arrested for allegedly shooting neighbours he believed to be demons. A 67-year old man was killed and his son critically injured during the three hour seige at a house in North Hollywood. Man arrested for allegedly shooting 'demonic' neighbors - Sacramento Bee, 7th January 2003.

January 8, 2003

Witch murders in India

A two-year old child was one of three people beheaded in Orissa for practising witchcraft. A traditioanal healer had told the accused that he and his family had come under the influence of an evil spirt. Three of them had died in the last two years, and his wife and daughters were ill.

The accused Habili Sidu (28) wanted to avenge the deaths of some members of his family. He believed the deceased were practising witchcraft and thus causing the deaths, police said.

Three beheaded for 'witchcraft' in Orissa - Sify News, 8th January 2003.

January 7, 2003

Witchcraft in Africa brings us a number of recent incidents concerning witch beliefs. In Namibia, thirteen people have been arrested in connection with the New Year's Eve murder of a man accused of witchcraft.

According to [Ohangwena Police Regional Commander Deputy Commissioner Tuveefeni] Mlukeni, the mob of villagers attacked Nghiimbwasha with sticks and killed him on the spot over accusations that he was practising witchcraft against other villagers.

This is not the first such incident in the area:

Last year, also in the Ohangwena Region, a mob of villagers attacked and killed their headman, Paulus Kahana, in a similar manner.
Kahana, who was headman of Omahayi village in Okongo Constituency, was also killed by villagers accusing him of practising witchcraft and linking him to the death of a resident.

In South Africa, Limpopo MEC for safety, security and liaison Dikeledi Magadzi has felt the need to point out that no-one is above the law and urged the police to deal severely with those resposible for attacks on people believed to be witches. His words were in respose to a recent incident where a mob set fire to the house of a man they believed was responsible for severe lightning that had affected their village.

In Zambia, a chief has been charged with murder over the death of a woman in 1998 whose 'private parts' were removed. Chief Nshimba, of Lake Mweru's Kilwa island in Luapula, has been implicated in a number of grisly ritual murders in the past. Villager Beaten to Death On New Year's Eve - The Namibian, 6th January 2003; No One is Above Law, Says Mec Magadzi - BuaNews, 31st December 2002; Cops Arrest Chief Nshimba of Luapula for Murder - The Post, 5th January 2003.

Fjian 'witch' assaulted.

A Fiji man has received a supsended sentence after he knifed a fellow villager he accused of witchcraft. He apologised to the court and said he wouldn't do it again. Knifing incident lands Waya islander in jail -, 7th January 2003.

January 6, 2003

Mosque attacked in Amsterdam

Two male youths were seen riding away on a moped after a bang was heard coming from an Amsterdam mosque last Friday night. Workers at the mosque on Baden Powellweg contacted the police on Saturday morning and fragments of a hand grenade, the type of which could not be determined, were discovered. Police think it was thrown in through a window. No-one was in the building when the grenade exploded. Grenade explodes in mosque - Expatica Netherlands, 6th January 2003; Handgranaat ontploft in Amsterdamse moskee - ANP (via de Volkskrant), 5th January 2003.

Tackling bigotry in Scotland

Sectarianism is a nasty problem in Scotland, not helped by politicians who seem to think that bigotry based on someone's percieved religious background has everything to do with genuine religious belief. Hence the Roman Catholic church in Scotland is worried about legislation which would prohibit fans and players from making the sign of the cross before matches or at times like before a penalty kick. Liberal Democrat MSP Donald Gorrie is on the working group and reassured the BBC that the passage the Catholic Church is worried about was a discussion of the problems legislation could bring, and not a proposal.

My understanding of the sentence the church is concerned about in the report was that it was part of a section illustrating the difficulties of introducing specific legislation for football matches.
There are actions which are very praiseworthy in the right context, such as a Catholic crossing themselves or singing a national anthem, but these can become very provocative if they are made in a very 'in your face' way to try to rile the other side.
It was an illustration of the difficulty of the problem rather than a solution to the problem.

Church in religious gesture warning - BBC News, 6th January 2003.

January 4, 2003

Rabbi stabbed

A French Rabbi needed hospital treatment after he was stabbed ouside his Paris synagogue. Rabbi Gabriel Farhi's synagogue had already been damaged by fire last May. The assailant was apparently a French Muslim.

Someone rang at the door, I opened and a man a bit shorter than me... wearing a motorbike helmet with its visor down said Allahu Akbar [God is Great] and then stabbed me, Mr Farhi told AFP.

Rabbi Farhi has received a number of threatening letters. Rabbi stabbed at Paris synagogue - BBC News, 4th January 2003.

Worried about gays adopting?

The leaders of a Kansas City Church have been charged with the murder of their adopted 9-year old son and of abusing their three other adopted children. Neil E. Edgar and Christy Y. Edgar are pastors of God's Creation Outreach Ministry which teaches that children should be subject to strict, physical discipline. Their son, Brian, died on December 29th.

Wyandotte County Coroner Alan Hancock said in an interview that Brian's mouth had been taped shut and that something like a sock had been stuffed in it. He said there were signs that Brian had vomited and that he had been bound around the chest with a belt. The boy died of asphyxiation, Hancock said.

This is about as bad (a case of child abuse) as any of them, Hancock said.

The autopsy, he added, showed that Brian had been dead for several hours before being brought to the hospital. The autopsy also found bruises on his cheeks and old marks on his wrists and ankles, suggesting he probably had been bound with a rope in the past.

A few years ago, a member of the church was convicted of using a stun gun against a child. Church leaders charged in murder of adopted sonKansas City Star, 1st January 2003.

January 3, 2003

Sorcerer's death suspicious.

A suspected sorcerer has been found dead under suspicious circumstances in a well in Katheru village (Hyderabad, India). Villagers say he could have been murdered or forced to commit suicide. Mystery shrouds 'sorcerer's' death - Times of India, 3rd January 2003.

January 2, 2003

South Africa, again

In South Africa, man has allegedly shot his stepmother and set her hut on fire after accusing her of witchcraft. He also accused and attacked his father, but did not hurt him. the alleged perpetrator fled and has not been captured. Man kills stepmom for witchcraft - SAPA/News24, 2nd January 2003.

Anti-semitism in South Africa

A total of 38 graves have been desecrated at two Jewish cemetaries in Cape Town. The police have yet to open a criminal investigation, though they are aware of the attacks.CT Jewish graves vandalised - iAfrica, 1st January 2003.

Mob attacks elderly 'witch'

Thirteen people have been arrested in South Africa after an elderly man was attacked and his huts burned down by a mob. They accused the old man of witchcraft. Thirteen held for attack on 'witch' - iAfrica, 2nd January 2003.

Trust the tabloids

The police describe the main suspect in the bin bag murders as a violent dangerman with a history of mental illness, but the Daily Mirror has a much more important point to note: the presence of Christian symbols means he must be Pagan.

The walls of the dingy flat were daubed with pagan-style symbols, including a large black cross.

More sensible news sources speculate that the dead women might be prostitutes who worked nearby Kings Cross. Police name bin bag murder suspect. - Daily Mirror, 2nd January 2003; Man arrested in body parts inquiry - BBC News, 2nd January 2003.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Love Thy Neighbour category from January 2003.

Love Thy Neighbour: December 2002 is the previous archive.

Love Thy Neighbour: February 2003 is the next archive.

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