Leading Japanese Buddhist sect rocked by massive investment losses

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The Asahi Shimbum reports that

One of Japan’s oldest and largest Buddhist sects has been thrown into turmoil over hundreds of millions of yen in latent losses from risky fund management operations.

The scandal has triggered a feud between the assembly of the Koyasan Shingon sect, its highest decision-making organ, and the executive body, which oversaw the investments.

Two religious corporations set up by the sect — which owns a cluster of World Heritage Site temples founded in the ninth century — have invested more than $30.05 million. Sources for the money included offerings from followers, who were not told of the investments.

Losses, equal to about a quarter of its assets, occurred for a variety of reasons including the purchase of risky financial instruments, latent losses, the falling value of the yen and rising stock prices.

The head of the sect’s finance division says the priests “blindly followed advice from brokerages and bought financial instruments.”

According to The Asahi Shimbum

The Cultural Affairs Agency’s guidelines say assets held by religious corporations consist of offerings from numerous followers and should not be reduced through speculative investments.

But the guidelines do not include specific regulations. […]

Takanobu Nakajima, an economics professor at Keio University, said the sect should be held accountable if it loses the bulk of its assets deriving from offerings from followers.

Buddhism tells us to shed desires and attachments,” Nakajima said. “It is not a goal to succeed in investments and increase assets. They should keep their expectations realistic.”

Seminar: Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships

There are still some spaces for this seminar which brings together family members and former members so that each group can benefit from the perspectives of the other.

The seminar is provided by the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) — the primary network of lay and professional cult experts. (Highly recommended by the publishers of Religion News Blog).

This event takes place Friday 3:00 p.m. May 17, 2013 to Sunday 3:00 p.m. May 19, 2013, at the Canterbury Retreat and Conference Center, in Oviedo [Orlando], Florida.

If you with to attend, you need to sign up. See the seminar flyer for details, including a list of facilitators.

If you need more information, you can also contact ICSA by email or by phone: (239) 514 3081.

UK can’t get rid of Muslim hate preacher

Abu Qatada

Britain has a hard time getting rid of radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada. ‘Radical Muslim’ tends to be a euphemism for ‘terrorist,’ or ‘extremist’ or ‘hate preacher.’

A British judge at one time described Qataba as “Osama Bin Laden’s right hand man in Europe.”

The Birmingham Mail says

Whitehall was refused permission to appeal to the Supreme Court for the removal of the radical cleric by the Court of Appeal.

Despite the latest setback the Government immediately vowed to continue the legal fight to remove the terror suspect to Jordan.

Last month, Court of Appeal judges in London backed an earlier ruling that Qatada, also known as Omar Othman, could not be deported over fears that evidence obtained through torture would be used against him.

It was announced today that the Court of Appeal has refused permission for the Home Secretary to challenge March’s ruling at the highest Court in the land.

But the Government is to persist with its bid by applying directly to the Supreme Court for permission.

In 2009 the Law Lords ruled that the hate criminal could be deported to Jordan where he is wanted on terrorism charges.

But 2001 the extremist, who claimed asylum when he arrived in Britain in September 1993 on a forged passport, has successfully thwarted every attempt by the government to deport him — because he might face torture in Jordan.

This is a man, if you can call him that, who in 1995 issued a “fatwa” in which he justified the killing of converts from Islam, their wives and children in Algeria.

In an October 1999 sermon delivered in London Qataba called for the killing of Jews and praised attacks on Americans.

Videos of his sermons were found in the Hamburg flat used by some of the September 11 hijackers.

The hate preacher spent most of the past 10 years in jail. But in November, 2012, he was freed on bail when a UK court ruled he might not get a fair trial if deported to Jordan to face terrorism charges.

After an earlier bail release, in 2008, this terrorist published an online book in which he repeatedly claims that fighting jihad, holy war, is obligatory for all Muslims and urges them to ‘terrorize’ non-believers.

In 2008 it was reported that since Qatada claimed asylum in 1993, he and his family have already cost UK taxpayers well over £1 million — and that, taking into account round-the-clock surveillance by police and security services, the bill would rise dramatically.

Note that we generally file news items about Muslim hate preachers under the heading ‘religious insanity‘ — where he keeps company with others of his ilk.

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This post was last updated: Aug. 27, 2013