- A man dubbed by the media as “the guru” was convicted Tuesday by a court in Paris of brainwashing three generations of an aristocratic French family for nearly a decade, swindling them of their home and fortune.
- Thierry Tilly, an Oxford-based Frenchman, was arrested in November, 2009, over allegations that he kidnapped, tortured and brainwashed several generations of the rich and highly educated De Védrines family into giving up their fortune.
- Tilly posed as a secret agent to convince the family that they were the lost descendants of an ancient society called L’Equilibre du Monde (The Balance of the World), that they were in mortal danger from a cabal of Freemasons, a European secret society and paedophiles, and that he had “superhuman powers” to help them reclaim their illustrious past and its “limitless treasure.”
- Over the course of 9 years 11 family members aged 16 to 89 sold off their possessions — including the family manor — and handed over €4.5 million ($5.7 million)
- Tilly was convicted of arbitrary detention, using violence against vulnerable people and abusing people weakened by “psychological subjection.”
- In December, 2009, family members agreed to testify against Tilly after they underwent exit counselling by a psychologist and a Bordeaux-based lawyer and anti-cult activist, Daniel Picotin.
- Practice your French by listening to the comments of the lawyers and member of the family:
- Muslim cleric Abu Qatada has been freed on bail after a UK court ruled he might not get a fair trial if deported to Jordan to face terrorism charges. He spent most of the past 10 years in jail.
- In one of his tracts, the rabid preacher repeatedly claims that fighting jihad, holy war, is obligatory for all Muslims and urges them to ‘terrorise’ non-believers.
- The BBC says
A UK court approved his appeal against deportation after deciding witness evidence obtained by torture might be used at trial in Jordan.
The government believes the wrong legal test was applied and is to appeal.
“We had received a number of assurances from the Jordanian government – they had even changed their constitution,” a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said. […]
Abu Qatada faces a retrial in Jordan for allegedly conspiring to cause explosions on Western and Israeli targets in 1998 and 1999. He was found guilty of terrorism offences in his absence in Jordan in 1999.
The Palestinian-born Jordanian has been described as the spiritual leader of the mujahideen. Security chiefs believe he played a key ideological role in spreading support for suicide bombings.
- The hate preacher’s bail conditions include being allowed out of his house only between 08:00 and 16:00, having to wear an electronic tag, and being restricted in whom he meets.
Another sign that the patients are running the asylum:
- The Boston Globe reports
In a collision between religious freedom and nondiscrimination codes, Tufts University is considering whether an evangelical Christian student group should be stripped of its official status for requiring that its leaders adhere to the faith, saying it violates school policies against religious discrimination.
An arm of the student government recently voted to withdraw recognition of the Tufts Christian Fellowship because its constitution requires that its leaders celebrate “the basic biblical truths of Christianity.”
That provision violates the nondiscrimination clause that governs student groups, student leaders said. The group has appealed the decision to a faculty committee. If the ruling is upheld, the group would lose its funding and permission to use the college’s name. […]
Colleges say they can’t abide such discrimination, and that religious beliefs cannot excuse it. But critics say the policies unfairly target religious groups and reveal hostility to evangelical beliefs.
“It’s an absurd level of mandated openness that actually diminishes diversity,” said David French, a senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice who has represented campus groups in dozens of similar cases. “It’s utterly antithetical to free expression.”
- Tufts’ Chaplaincy site says
Tufts University is committed to religious freedom and a vibrant spiritual life on campus as well as its policy against discrimination. We recognize that this case raises complex as well as deeply felt issues, and we are sure that the Committee on Student Life will also appreciate this complexity should TCFI decide to file an appeal.
Meanwhile, the University Chaplaincy, which works closely with Tufts student religious organizations of all faiths, is actively supporting both students and administration to address the issues raised in this case. This is an ongoing process with a final resolution yet to be determined.
- Catholics are flocking to the Sime Darby Medical Centre just outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where a vision of the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared in a window.
- Some in the crowd also claim to see an image of Jesus Christ in a second window.
- The editor of Malaysian Catholic newsletter The Herald says the church would need to investigate the images to determine whether they are ‘aunthentic.’ But he also suggest this may be a case of ‘private revelations.’
- Did you know: The capacity for people to recognize familiar patterns in random images, such as faces in clouds, shadows, stains and even grilled cheese sandwiches is psychological phenomenon called pareidolia.
- The window pane in question will be moved to a church.
Not familiar with Xenu? Here’s how the BBC’s Panorama explained it in 1987:
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