Scientology critic updates critique; Beard cutting cult sentenced

Jon Atack's critique of the Scientology cult
Jon Atack has vastly updated his critical book about the Scientology cult.

Also: a man quits his job over the number ‘666,’ and a cult leader who claimed to be an alien from Sirius has been jailed for abusing his followewrs.

Plus: Renegade Amish cult leader Samuel Mullet and 15 members of his clan have been jailed for their hate crimes. More inside…

UK Government tackles abuse of children accused of witchcraft

Child killers Erirc Bikubi and Magalie Bamu The UK government has announced plans to tackle the “wall of silence” around the abuse and neglect of children accused of witchcraft, following the brutal murder of Kristy Bamu.

In London there have been 81 recorded cases of children being abused as part of religious practice over the past 10 years but police and church groups are convinced it is under-reported.

Religion News Briefing, Sunday May 6, 2012

Bert Potter Cult leader Bert Potter dies; a look at how Jim Jones manipulated politicians in San Francisco; and Kate Bornstein is no longer afraid to speak out about Scientology.

Also in this religion news briefing: the rise of paid, online worship in India; plus: 15 years after committing suicide the website of the Heaven’s Gate cult is still online.

Plus: why more Ugandans are turning to Witchcraft, and why a lawer thinks trafficking in brides might be OK.

Witchcraft murder couple jailed for life

Eric Bikubi and Magalie Bamu A couple convicted for torturing and murdering a 15-year-old boy they accused of using witchcraft have been jailed for life.

Football coach Eric Bikubi, 28, has been ordered to serve at least 30 years. His partner, Magalie Bamu, 29, will serve a minimum of 25 years.

Couple guilty of horrific ‘witchcraft exorcism’ murder

Eric Bikubi and Magalie Bamu A couple have been found guilty of murdering a teenager they had accused of using witchcraft.

After days of ‘feral’ torture Kristy Bamu drowned in a bath on Christmas Day in 2010, during torture to produce exorcism, an Old Bailey jury heard.

Dog skeletons, witchcraft books found in home

Coatesville, PA home Two people are in custody after police found more than a half dozen dismembered dogs in a home in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

The police also found items related to witchcraft and the occult.

‘Witch torture’ trial: Hair cut to ‘release kindoki’

A man accused of killing a teenage boy he thought was a witch cut the hair of a young woman to “release the witchcraft”, the Old Bailey has heard.

‘Witch torture’ trial: Attack on teenager was ‘feral’

Eric Bikubi and Magalie Bamu Violence inflicted on a teenager accused of being a witch was “wild” and “completely feral”, a witchcraft expert has told the Old Bailey.

Kristy Bamu, 15, drowned in a bath in his sister’s east London flat after he was was beaten and tortured in 2010.

Don Rimer, controversial ‘expert’ on occult crimes, passes away

Don Rimer During the mid-eighties Don Rimer managed to establish himself as an internationally known authority on ‘Ritual Crime and the Occult.’

Unfortunately, his work contributed to the ‘Satanic Panic’ hysteria of that time.

Torture case couple were obsessed with witchcraft, court hears

A couple accused of torturing and killing a 15-year-old boy were “obsessed” with witchcraft and warned the boy’s parents they would kill him, his sister has told a court.

Boy ‘tortured and drowned’ over witchcraft claims, court told

A teenage boy underwent “unimaginable physical torture” before being drowned by his sister and her partner because they believed he was a sorcerer who was practising witchcraft, a court heard on Thursday.

Eric Bikubi and Magalie Bamu, both 28, killed 15-year-old Kristy Bamu in their east London flat after violently abusing him for several days, and repeatedly attacked the victim’s two sisters, whom they accused of sorcery, the Old Bailey heard on the opening day of the trial.

Reintegrating Ghana’s “witches”

Ghana Ghana’s government is looking at ways to support people accused of witchcraft – mainly women and children banished by their communities to “witches’ camps” in the north – and to reintegrate them in their home villages.

Currently around 1,000 women and 700 children are living in six camps in northern Ghana, where they have found refuge from threats and violence from people in their home communities after being labelled witches and blamed for causing misfortune to others.

Court allows ‘warlock’ to break curfew on full moon nights to perform Wicca ritual

A male witch who was put under an overnight curfew for carrying a knife he claimed was for religious purposes will be allowed to break the curfew on nights when there is a full moon, a court in England has ruled.

Malawi rights group pays fines to free elderly ‘witches’

A Malawian rights group said on Tuesday it had paid fines to secure the release of three elderly women sent to prison after being accused of witchcraft, AFP reports.

Russia’s witches and wizards face ad ban to protect cancer victims

Russian MPs have backed a bill that bans anyone who calls themselves a witch or a wizard from advertising their services in the media in an effort to combat a controversial national obsession with the occult.

According to the Orthodox Church, Russia has 800,000 practitioners of the occult, many of whom advertise in newspaper small advertisements offering cures for alcoholism and spells to lift curses and return errant husbands for a fee.

One report claims almost one in five Russians have consulted occult ‘healers’ but MPs have warned they are risking their health and possibly their lives by trusting in such quackery.

Romania will not tax witches and fortune tellers

Romania’s Senate has rejected a proposed law that would have taxed witches and fortune tellers.

And the politician who pushed the plan said his colleagues caved because many of them feared being cursed.

Senator Alin Popoviciu of Romania’s ruling Democratic Liberal Party drafted the legislation that also would have forced the country’s thousands of witches and fortune tellers to produce receipts and would have held them responsible for wrong predictions.

Children abused, killed as witches in Nigeria

Children accussed of being witches Pastors in southeast Nigeria claim illness and poverty are caused by witches who bring terrible misfortune to those around them. And those denounced as witches must be cleansed through deliverance or cast out.

As daylight breaks, and we travel out to the rural villages it becomes apparent the most vulnerable to this stigmatization of witchcraft are children.

Albino girl, 11, killed and beheaded in Swaziland ’for witchcraft’

An 11-year-old albino girl from Swaziland was shot dead in front of her friends and then beheaded in what police believe was a ritual murder.

The murder is the latest in a series of albino killings in Sub-Saharan Africa, where sufferers of the rare skin pigmentation condition are concentrated.

Earlier this year, another 11-year-old albino child was killed close to the same spot in Swaziland and her hand was removed.

Police believe both children may have been targeted because of a belief by witch doctors that the blood and body parts of albinos – who lack pigment in their eyes, hair and skin – can bring good luck and fortune when used in potions.

Their value for black magic practitioners sees them often fall prey to human traffickers, one of whom was jailed for 17 years in Tanzania this week for abducting and attempting to sell a live albino man.

200 ‘witches’ killed in India each year – report

Indian women falsely accused of witchcraft As many as 200 women are lynched every year in India after being accused of practising witchcraft, a study by a charity has found.

Avdhash Kaushal, chairman of the Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, said that most victims were single or widowed and were often targeted for their land or money.
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