Islam’s Rotten Apples * Abusive Churches * Aum Cult

Cover of 'Heretic' a book by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
There are three kinds of Muslims, former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali says, and moderates are not among them. The outspoken Islam critic calls for a reformation within Islam.

Also: Former members of a church in Palmerston, New Zealand, say they were suicidal, depressed and in need of counselling after leaving the “cult-like” church and being shunned by their friends and family.

Religion News for busy people

In this issue: cult leader Debra Burslem, of the Magnificat Meal Movement, has fled Australia for the island nation of Vanuata. An Australian current affairs program tracked her down and confronted the ‘prophetess’ with claims that she has misused funds provided by her followers.

Plus: Does evangelist Reinhard Bonnke perform miracles?

Also: next month marks the 20th anniversary of doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo’s sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway.

And and in-depth look at the apocalyptic theology that fuels ISIS and other Muslim radicals around the world.

Many more religion news items…

Destiny Church’s Worship of Money * Brainwashed cult member

Brian Tamaki loves money
A former Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult member awaiting trial after 17 years on the run is still brainwashed.

Also: Destiny Church’s controversial, self-appointed ‘bishop’ Brian Tamaki told his devoted followers that God wanted them to give high-denomination bills to his church.

Christ Embassy’s false gospel; Bill Gothard quits; Ultraman banned

Bill Gothard, founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, has resigned in the wake of an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse.

Sometimes the Prosperity Gospel scam does work. But guess who gets rich of it?

A former Aum Shinrikyo cult member who surrendered after 17 years on the run has now been sentenced to 9 years in prison for his participation in three cult-related crimes.

Cult leader Victor Barnard, who faces abuse charges, is missing.

Plus: The fictional True Detective series may have been inspired by the Hosanna Church child abuse case.

AUM Shinrikyo doomsday cult member on trial

Makoto Hirata
Doomsday cult member Makoto Hirata is charged with involvement in the 1995 abduction and death of a notary official.

Hirata, who in January 2011 handed himself in to police after 17 years on the run, is also charged with involvement in the firebombing of a Tokyo condominium.

Peter Moses sentenced * Aum cult trial * Faith healers lose appeal

Cult leader Peter Moses has been sentenced in the murders of a 4-year-old boy and a 28-year-old woman.

Jailed former members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult can testify in open court against another Aum cult follower. And the parents of a girl who died when they prayed for her healing rather than provide medical care have lots their appeal again their sentence.

3 Aum members on death row may testify against fellow cultist

Makoto Hirata
Three men who were sentenced to death for their part in the Aum Shinrikyo cult’s 1995 Sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway may be called to testify in the trial of fellow cult member Makoto Hirata.

Hirata faces trial for the fatal abduction and confinement of a notary clerk.

Also: ‘Hot Yoga’ guru Bikram Choudhury faces a sexual harassment lawsuit. Plus, more trouble for Narconon Arrowhead: Lawsuits allege its counselors traded sex for drugs.

Plus: Citizens of a polygamous cult’s town are being watched by surveillance cameras.

18th Anniversary of Aum Cult’s Sarin Gas Attack

Eighteen years ago today, the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult released Sarin, a deadly nerve gas, on five subway trains during Tokyo’s early-morning rush hour.

A handful of misguided sociologists of religion traveled from America in defense of the cult.

Aum Shinrikyo cult successor Aleph wins damages, government apology

Aleph, formerly known as the Aum Shinrikyo cult
A court has ruled that the Tokyo Metropolitan government must pay damages, and apologize, to Aleph — the successor of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult — for suggesting Aum was responsible for the attempted murder of Japan’s national chief of police.

Aum Shinrikyo is best known for its March 20, 1995 terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway system, during which cult members released nerve gas.

Hate crimes trial for Amish cult: Religion News Briefs

Bergholz Clan A breakaway Amish groups considered by prosecutors to be a cult goes on trial today for hate crimes. Also: A young man convicted for his involvement in a vampire cult murder wants to have his sentence reduced.

Plus: In Spain a fresco of Christ, disfigured in a botched restoration attempt, draws throngs of tourists (and is a worldwide internet sensation).

The murderous Aum Shinrikyo cult, best known for its nerve gas attacks on the Tokyo subway system, is still recruiting new followers. And cult expert Steve Hassan has written

Religion News Quick Takes: Amish fakes, ‘honor’ crimes, Ark of Noah, Stephen Colbert, and more

Religion News Quick Takes In today’s issue: Your Amish whatever is probably not Amish after all. Televangelist Robert ‘Dr. Shine’ Freeman jailed. And a TV station staff entirely by veiled women.

Also: Philip Jenkins recounts a scary experience in Amsterdam.

Plus: Spending by Muslim tourists is growing faster than the global rate, and… Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Stephen Colbert team up.

Aum Shinrikyo: facial recognition, reward and fresh charges

Aum Shinrikyo Police in Japan are trying to decide how to divide the $250,000 reward for information that led to the capture of the final suspects in the 1995 nerve gas attack on Tokyo’s subway.

Ex-AUM cult member faces fresh arrest warrant over nerve agent attacks

Naoka Kikuchi Police in Japan will serve a fresh arrest warrant against former AUM Shinkrikyo member Naoko Kikuchi on suspicion of murder and attempted murder in connection with three VX nerve agent attacks in 1994 and 1995.

Kikuchi was arrested earlier this month after 17 years on the run, wanted for allegedly playing a role in the production of the nerve agent used in the cult’s deadly attack on the Tokyo subway.

Captured cult member still worships Aum Shinrikyo guru

Katsuya Takahasi Katsuya Takahashi, the Aum Shinrikyo cult member arrested last week after 17 years on the run, still worships the cult’s guru.

Police have recovered book published by the doomsday cult, along with cassette tape recordings by — and photos of — cult leader Shoko Asahara.

Cult experts hope pending Aum Shinrikyo cult trial will raise awareness

Aum Shinrikyo The upcoming trials of the last three Aum Shinrikyo cult members will inevitably revisit the atrocities committed by the cultists, whose spiritual pursuits under guru Shoko Asahara claimed 29 lives and left more than 6,500 people injured.

Cult experts hope that revisiting Aum’s mayhem will raise public awareness of the potential dangers of joining cults.

Tokyo police arrest last Aum Shinrikyo fugitive

Katsuya Takahashi Police in Japan have arrested the last fugitive from the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult on suspicion of murder in connection with the 1995 sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.

The suspect, Katsuya Takahashi, 54, was caught in the Kamata area of Tokyo’s Ota Ward after spending 17 years on the run.

Manhunt for Final Sarin Gas Attack Fugitive Closing In

Katsuya Takahashi Japanese police are closing in on the last remaining fugitive wanted in connection with the Aum Shinrikyo cult’s deadly 1995 sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway.

Detectives are trailing just hours behind the last known whereabouts of Katsuya Takahashi.

Japan arrests most-wanted Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult member

Naoko Kikuchi One of the two remaining fugitive members of Aum Shinrikyo, the doomsday cult behind the 1995 nerve gas attack on Tokyo subways, was arrested Sunday, according to Japanese media reports.

Naoko Kikuchi, 40, acknowledged who she was when approached by police.

Former Aum Shinrikyo cult member who hid fugitive gets 14 months

Akemi Saito The Tokyo District Court sentenced former Aum Shinrikyo member Akemi Saito to 14 months in prison Tuesday for harboring fugitive cultist Makoto Hirata for more than 14 years.

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