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Religion News Report

November 29, 2000 (Vol. 4, Issue 290) - 1/2

arrow Latest: Religion News Blog
Rainbow


=== Aum Shinrikyo
1. [Children barred from school]

=== Falun Gong
2. TCD protests for Chinese dissident
3. Persecuted Falun Gong practitioner flees to Troy

=== Scientology
4. Scientology under the Christmas Tree
5. Russian president: drugs are a threat to national security

=== Buddhism
6. Buddhist temple's groundbreaking brings faiths together

=== Islam
7. Lessons of Inclusion
8. Muslims See New Clouds Of Suspicion
9. Ramadan bolsters interfaith friendships
10. Saudi Women Bound By Tradition

=== Catholicism
11 Vatican ban on exorcism at Mass

=== Mormonism
12. District Finds No Fault in Book of Mormon Dispute

=== Paganism / Witchcraft
13. Suit Filed Against California Faculty Association Union
14. Indonesian island sees spate of ''witch'' murders
15. Fear grips Ghana as ritual killer claims 34th victim

=== Hate Groups
16. City can't block Klan cross
17. Germany braced for neo-Nazi terror blitz
18. Aryan guard to be set free

=== False Memory Syndrome
19. The sins of the mother?
20. 'Retractor' helps others find answers

» Continued in Part 2

=== Faith Healing
21. Court Rejects Faith Healers' Defense
22. Parents convicted in death of diabetic daughter
23. Faith healing experiences local revival
24. Spokane has been home to popular faith healer before

=== Other News
25. Praise the Lord and pass the cane
26. Atttorney David Waters appears in court to face charges (O'Hair)
27. Dutch legalise euthanasia
28. Dutch Criteria for Legal Euthanasia
29. Russian interior minister demands ban on extremist sects
30. Kyrgyz people fight their own war against religious sects
31. Vicar returns to work after sex change
32. Britons claim to see host of angels
33. Ministry building headquarters (Benny Hinn)

=== Religious Freedom / Religious Intolerance
34. Religious Freedom on the Decline in Turkmenistan
35. Fenton High limits religious songs after criticism

=== Science
36. Proposed rules boost teaching of creationism
37. Patent allows creation of man-animal hybrid
38. France to Allow Human Embryo Research

=== Noted
39. UK is 'losing' its religion
40. Exorcists and Exorcisms Proliferate Across U.S.

=== Books
41. Scholar Has New Theory on Old Testament


=== Aum Shinrikyo

1. [Children barred from school]
Mainichi Daily News (Japan), Nov. 29, 2000
http://www.mainichi.co.jp/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]

The Supreme Court upholds the decision by Ibaraki's Ryugasaki
to bar three young children of AUM Shinrikyo guru Shoko Asahara from its public
schools.
[...entire item...]


=== Falun Gong

2. TCD protests for Chinese dissident
The Irish Times (Ireland), Nov. 28, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
More than 200 students from Trinity College Dublin converged on the Chinese embassy in Dublin last week to protest at the imprisonment in Beijing and alleged torture of a former classmate.

Zhao Ming (30), a postgrad computer-science student and former tutor, was arrested on a visit home last Christmas because of his membership of the outlawed spiritual movement, Falun Gong. He was since sentenced to two years at the Tuan He Farm labour camp.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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3. Persecuted Falun Gong practitioner flees to Troy
The Detroit News, Nov. 28, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
TROY -- After months of torture and surveillance in China, Ahiua Xu arrived from Shanghai on Monday morning, and is safe in the home of her daughter, Jennifer Zhou of Troy.

The 64-year-old retired engineer and mother of four sat on Jennifer's burgundy leather sofa and pulled up her pants legs to show the bruises where she said electric shocks had been administered near her ankles. Her daughter sat nearby cringing.

Xu's crime: Publicly practicing the controversial slow-motion exercises known as Falun Gong, which were officially banned in China in July 1999.
(...)

Xu, one of 100 million who practice Falun Gong worldwide, said she was not trying to make a political statement with her use of Falun Gong, but was simply searching for a cure for her many illnesses.

''My doctors had told me my body was like a machine, and all the parts had gone bad,'' she said. ''They had given me no hope. But it has been two years since I began practicing, and I no longer suffer from high blood pressure, heart problems, painful joints, and the lump in the back of my neck is gone.''

Practitioners claim the exercises and meditation eliminate illness and create peace of mind.
(...)

Stories of Xu's mistreatment are all over the Internet, but this is the first time she has spoken publicly about her experiences.

''I still fear what may happen to the other practitioners if this gets back to China, but I feel I must let the public know what is really going on,'' she said, punching the air for emphasis.

Authorities restricted her from leaving Shanghai, but she requested permission to visit a relative.

''They told me I had to return by Nov. 30, but I already had a passport and a visa, so my daughter and son-in-law sent me a ticket, and I escaped,'' she said. She does not plan to return to China until the policy changes, which means she plans to stay with her daughter for the long haul. Both her daughter and son-in-law are General Motors Corp. engineers.

While banned in China, Falun Gong is gaining popularity in Metro Detroit.

The mayors of Troy, Farmington Hills, and Rochester Hills issued proclamations declaring Falun Dafa (or Falun Gong) day in October. Sterling Heights, Roseville and West Bloomfield will issue their proclamations on Dec. 9.
(...)

Convention planned

What: The 2000 Great Lakes Falun Gong Convention

When: Dec. 9-10

Where: Ann Arbor, at the Rackham Building, 915 East Washington.

Highlights: At least 700 practitioners from across the Midwest are expected to attend. The convention, which will include an open house exhibition, meditation teaching workshops, group practice and experience sharing, is free and open to the public.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Scientology

4. Scientology under the Christmas Tree
Die Welt (Germany), Nov. 23, 2000
Translation: CISAR
http://cisar.org/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Berlin - The Christmas season is book-buying season. Ideal for publishers and book dealers to advertise in grand style the best-sellers of the season, new books or Christmas stories as the ideal present for under the Christmas tree. Scientology has now also apparently made this insight its own. On poster surfaces in the major European cities, the notorious sect group has been mass advertising one of its founder's works for days - L. Ron Hubbard's ''The Fundamentals of Thought.''

The name of the sect itself is not to be found on the posters other than on the book covers; instead there is a quote by Hubbard who is honored by the powerful US group as a bringer of salvation, ''It doesn't matter where you're going. What matters is how you get there.'' The line does not allude to the positioning of the cadre-like organization and to spiritual torture in Scientology, it is also symptomatic for the new advertising strategy: if Scientology had first established itself in Germany mostly by recruiting pedestrians, now the sect is using ever more perfidious tactics - according to press reports, adherents are placed in restaurants, seniors homes, driving school and even kindergartens; in Hamburg establishments are disguised as exhibits and film demonstrations.
(...)

The current poster campaign, according to experts, is not just part of the attempt to find a subtler form of advertisement. What's at stake is commercial survival of the German branch. According to community and church sect commissioners, the organization is suffering under heavily dwindling membership and is also headed for bankruptcy. ''Financially, the organization is doing very poorly,'' says Hamburg's Scientology commissioner Ursula Caberta. The end of Scientology Deutschland is not in the foreseeable future, said Berlin's Evangelical sect commissioner Thomas Gandow, ''The organization has been declared dead before. But then it comes back all the more radical.''

The post campaign is not illegal - the organization may advertise as anybody else according to law. Which is also what annoys the poster marketing company, ''Scientology is not banned in Germany. We may not act as censor,'' said its spokesman Andreas Schaefer.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top
» L. Ron Hubbard quotes about ChristOff-site Link


The publisher of Religion News Report agrees with the German government's viewOff-site Link of Scientology:

''The German government considers the Scientology organization a commercial
enterprise with a history of taking advantage of vulnerable individuals and
an extreme dislike of any criticism. The government is also concerned that
the organization's totalitarian structure and methods may pose a risk to
Germany's democratic society. Several kinds of evidence have influenced this
view of Scientology, including the organization's activities in the United
States.''


5. Russian president: drugs are a threat to national security
BBC Monitoring/Interfax, Nov, 29, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Text of report in English by Russian news agency Interfax
Moscow, 29th November: Russian President Vladimir Putin has put the drug problem on the list of direct threats to Russia's national security, Russian Security Council Secretary Sergey Ivanov said today.

At a conference discussing ways to rid Russia of illegal drugs, Ivanov said that the Security Council evaluates the drug-related crime situation as ''serious and deteriorating''.
(...)

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Aleksiy II also spoke at the conference, and said that ''drug addiction is a spiritual problem that cannot be solved without overcoming the inner spiritual crisis''. ''The cause of this rapidly spreading disease is to be found in the distorted traditional spiritual principles of Russian society,'' the patriarch said. ''One cannot seriously hope to overcome the drug epidemic without healing the human soul spoiled by sin. But even if all strength and means are put into the struggle against drugs, this 20th century plague will not be halted without God's help.''

He also said that the spread of this evil in Russia was largely promoted by the Scientology sect founded by L. Ron Hubbard. ''This pseudo-religious organization gave birth to dozens of other organizations [that are] working to this day,'' the patriarch said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Buddhism

6. Buddhist temple's groundbreaking brings faiths together
AP, Nov, 24, 2000
http://wire.ap.org/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - A new temple being built at the Tibetan Cultural Center is touted as a spiritual home for those of all faiths who seek peace of mind.

The center is the home of Thubten J. Nordu, elder brother of the Dalai Lama.

Nordu received a standing ovation when he addressed the crowd before drawing the first shovelful of dirt for the Chamtse Ling temple.
(...)

The Chamtse Ling's main hall will house a large Tibetan altar and a statue of Buddha, ringed by plaques of Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

Chamtse Ling is translated ``field of love and compassion.''

The Dalai Lama, a Buddhist monk who went into exile in India after an anti-Chinese uprising in 1959, named the future temple when he dedicated the cornerstone while visiting Bloomington in 1996.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Islam

7. Lessons of Inclusion
Washington Post, Nov. 28, 2000
http://www.washingtonpost.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(...) ''It's Ramadan, my holiday,'' answered Daad Mohamed, 12, a Sudanese American student. ''We fast and get gifts at the end.''

Eyes grew wide. Hands starting shooting into the air with questions as Hussein, a Muslim activist who works as a cultural liaison for the Montgomery County public schools, explained the 30-day period of fasting and reflection that started this week.

As the Muslim population in schools soars, lessons like this--complete with extensive lesson plans--have become more common in classrooms across the Washington region. It's part of a growing effort in public schools to increase understanding and decrease stereotypes of Muslim students and their traditions.

Educators said they are careful to keep the lessons focused on information rather than religious preaching. But they added that with thousands of Muslim students now attending Washington area schools, basic knowledge of Muslim students and their holidays is needed, especially during a time of tense conflict in the Middle East.

Cynthia Ross, who runs the Middle Eastern/South Asian Club at Chantilly High School, where about half the club's members are Muslims, said: ''I recently got a call from a parent who wanted to know why we would sponsor a club like this. She started echoing stereotypes, and it was very tough and very painful. I think we very much need these kinds of sessions and clubs so people can gain some understanding.''

Some Muslim activists and students are also talking about the idea of having a formal Muslim or Middle Eastern Heritage month, much like Hispanic and African American heritage months.

At Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, Amani Elkassabany, a Muslim teacher and adviser for the Muslim Students Association, said she supports the idea and believes it could boost the self-esteem of students from the Middle East.
(...)

At the school, Muslim and non-Muslim students alike prepared information cards that explained Ramadan. The cards described how Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during the month. They also said that Muslims have a three-day party called an Eid al-Fitr with food and gifts at the end of Ramadan, which marks the revelation of their holy book, the Koran.
(...)

Many Washington area schools are hosting information and Islamic heritage sessions around the time of Ramadan. Several school districts, including Montgomery County and Fairfax County, have also held Ramadan sessions for teachers that include trips to local mosques.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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8. Muslims See New Clouds Of Suspicion
Washington Post, Nov. 27, 2000
http://www.washingtonpost.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Muslims in the Washington area and across the country begin observing the holy month of Ramadan today amid signs of Islam's growing acceptance in the United States--but also persistent examples of how Muslims here sometimes face mistrust and unusual legal problems because of suspicions about their Mideast ties.

Muslim chaplains now serve in the U.S. armed forces and on many college campuses, and women in head scarves are not an unusual sight in the workplace. The Clinton White House has hosted Muslims on several Islamic holidays, and for the first time, a Muslim gave the benediction at the opening session of this year's Republican Party convention.

In public schools, rooms have been set aside during Ramadan for fasting Muslim students to study while their non-Muslim peers eat lunch. The U.S. Postal Service is releasing a stamp next year that commemorates the two most important Islamic holidays. And banks are creating new kinds of transactions for Muslims, whose religion forbids them from accepting interest on deposits.

But when violence flares in the Middle East or when Islamic extremists target Americans, as in the recent USS Cole attack, Muslims in the area say they face increased scrutiny by U.S. law enforcement agencies, suspicions about their faith and accusations that they support terrorism.

''There is a growing recognition of the role of Muslims as a positive factor in the building of American society's fabric,'' said Aly R. Abuzaakouk, director of the D.C.-based American Muslim Council. But events in the Middle East, he said, can ''put a damper on our image as family-oriented, value-oriented, hardworking members of society.''

For the next month, Washington area Muslims, who number between 100,000 and 200,000, will observe Ramadan, abstaining from food, drink and other sensual pleasures during the day to learn discipline, self-restraint and generosity. They make up a racially diverse community that includes people of Arab descent, American-born converts, Pakistanis, Afghans, Indians and Africans, and they worship in nearly 40 sites and support five Islamic schools. In 1996, the country's first school for training imams, or prayer leaders, opened in Leesburg.

Local politicians are noticing. Virginia Reps. James P. Moran Jr. (D) and Thomas M. Davis III (R) regularly visit Dar Al Hijra, a mosque in Falls Church, members said. And Fairfax County Supervisor Penelope A. Gross (D-Mason) helped Afghan Muslims overcome neighborhood opposition when building their Annandale mosque, Mustafa Center.
(...)

Muslims also have tossed aside an earlier generation's reluctance to be politically active, forming several organizations to promote their interests and starting voter registration drives. For the first time, Muslim advocacy groups endorsed a U.S. presidential candidate, backing Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

These efforts to form what they call ''a Muslim voting bloc'' have begun to bear fruit, activists said. The D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations sent a post-election questionnaire to mosques across the country. Of the 1,774 respondents--10 percent of whom live in Virginia--72 percent reported voting for Bush. Of those, 85 percent said their decision was influenced by the endorsement of the Muslim groups.

Yet despite efforts to move into mainstream America, Muslims say violence overseas often leads to a backlash.
(...)

In other examples of what they say is guilt by association, Muslims here have complained about being unfairly singled out by airport security officers using racial profiling. And they object to a 1996 anti-terrorist law that permits immigrants to be deported on classified evidence that is withheld from the immigrants and their attorneys.

Critics say that such ''secret evidence'' has been used disproportionately against Muslims and Arabs, some of whom have been jailed for years while they seek access to the evidence in order to refute it. In at least three cases, Muslim immigrants held for more than a year were released after courts let them see and challenge such evidence.

''I think it's fair to say that in the last four to five years, virtually all the immigrants who've had secret evidence used against them have been Arab or Muslim,'' said David Cole, a professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University Law Center who was involved in several cases.

''The United States will say that's because that's where the terrorist threat comes from. But I'm not satisfied with that response,'' he said. ''There seems to be a presumption among [federal law enforcement authorities] that anyone associated with these groups must be a terrorist.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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See also:

» USA: Amnesty International seeks ban on secret evidenceOff-site Link


9. Ramadan bolsters interfaith friendships
Denver Rocky Mountain News, Nov. 28, 2000
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(...) Ramadan began Monday for the 1.1 billion followers of Islam - 15,000 of whom who live in Colorado.

But Ramadan has another side - after dusk. That's when Muslims break each day's fast with a feast. The Jodehs decided to end the first day of Ramadan with four special friends, all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

''The first night of Ramadan is special, and the tradition is to invite your most dear family and friends. I can't think of anyone I'd rather have here than you,'' Muhamed Jodeh told his guests, Dennis and Linda Brimhall and George and Ilene Dibble.

The couples met through a network of community and interfaith boards. But now their relationship is far more: ''Out of these things comes friendship,'' said Ilene Dibble, who is director of public affairs for the Denver-area LDS Church.
(...)

The couples marveled at the common ground of their faiths. All worship the same ''God of Abraham.'' Muslims follow the Koran as transmitted through the prophet Muhammed, who Islam teaches was God's greatest messenger. LDS members follow Scripture and the book of Mormon, and revere Jesus as God's chosen one, sent to Earth as savior.

Both faiths have rigorous, regular fasting. In the LDS Church, ''we fast for a 24-hour period the first Sunday of every month,'' said George Dibble, who is head of Dibble and Associates, a consulting firm. ''Like Muslims, we give the money we would have spent on food to the poor.''

''It's a matter of subjecting the physical things of this world to the spiritual,'' said Dennis Brimhall, the president of University of Colorado Hospital.

Each tradition bans alcohol, too: ''It blurs the mind and is absolutely forbidden,'' George Dibble said.
(...)

All agreed that Muslims and Mormons share a major link: ''Our common concern for the family,'' said Ilene Dibble.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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10. Saudi Women Bound By Tradition
AP, Nov. 27, 2000
http://news.excite.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Five Saudi women sat in a coffee shop chatting animatedly about their lives over cafe lattes and sandwiches. Suddenly, they heard commotion outside.

Fearing the Mutawas, religious police, had come to throw them in jail for being in public without a male relative, they hastily grabbed their long black scarves and covered their hair and faces as they cast wary looks around them. The Mutawas did not show up, but the women decided to leave. Their outing had been spoiled.

Ten years after a group of women defied a ban on female driving and drove around the capital for 15 minutes, women in Saudi Arabia are still bound by tradition, their lives subject to the interpretations of male religious scholars of the sharia, or Islamic law.

Some Saudi women are happy with the status quo and denounce human rights groups that call for improvement of their situation. Others insist their lives should change.
(...)

Saudi Arabian women lead among the strictest lives in the world. In public, they can only expose their hands, and sometimes kohl-rimmed eyes and hennaed feet. They cannot travel or get an education or a job without the written approval of a male guardian and the government does not issue them ID cards.

Mutawas are agents of the Committee to Prevent Vice and Promote Virtue, which is funded by the government and headed by a Cabinet minister. Mutawas reportedly get about $300 for every Saudi they arrest; $150 for every foreigner.

The Mutawas patrol shopping centers, restaurants and other public areas to ensure that men and women are behaving. They even go into sports stores or makeup shops with felt pens to black out promotional pictures of women on boxes and posters.

Princess Basma bint Majid bin Abdul Aziz, a niece of King Fahd, said foreign activists have no right ''to tell a people who have existed for thousands of years, even before America existed, to change their ways.''

''The problem with Americans is that they have a certain way of life and they think if you don't live like them, there's something wrong with you,'' said Princess Basma, head of the culture and heritage committee at Al-Nahda Women's Charitable Society.
(...)

For most, especially for the 6 million foreigners who live here, life in Saudi Arabia can be a bit confusing because there are no written rules stating how one should behave. What is condoned today may not be condoned tomorrow.

A foreign woman wearing a navy blue scarf was stopped by a Mutawa because her head cover was not black. His colleague told him navy blue was OK, and the two men launched into a theological debate over scarf color before the woman was let go. An unmarried, non-Saudi couple who were seen kissing goodnight on the cheek in a parking lot were thrown in jail for a few weeks.

The role of women in Saudi society came under the spotlight during the buildup of 500,000 Western troops prior to the 1991 Gulf War that liberated Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Catholicism

11. Vatican ban on exorcism at Mass
The Telegraph (England), Nov, 28, 2000
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The Vatican has ordered a stop to exorcisms and healings during Mass in a bid to limit the growth of ''charismatic'' or ''neo-pentecostal'' movements.

The ban, which was signed by the Pope's chief of doctrine, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, appeared especially aimed at the type of populist healing sessions presided over near Rome by a controversial African Archbishop, Emmanuele MilingoOff-site Link.

The document attacked ''sensationalist and hysterical'' movements where crowds gathered ''in expectation of a miracle''. It said that while every Catholic could pray for someone to be healed, this could only be done in a holy place under the guidance of an ordained person.

In addition, a diocesan bishop could forbid another bishop from carrying out an exorcism or healing in church. This point seemed to be a specific counter to Mgr Milingo, Emeritus Archbishop of Lusaka, whose sensational healings have caused anger in the Vatican. His post as special delegate for the Pontifical Council for Migrants was recently cancelled, stripping him of any importance in the Church.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Mormonism

12. District Finds No Fault in Book of Mormon Dispute
Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 29, 2000
http://www.sltrib.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
After investigating a dispute involving a West High School English teacher who had three students kicked out of her class allegedly because they had copies of the Book of Mormon on their desks, the Salt Lake City School District has found no fault on either side.

But the district has decided to provide sensitivity training for the teacher and her class, making sure teachers understand provisions of the First Amendment and that students are aware of proper channels for raising concerns about perceived discrimination.

The district and the Salt Lake Teachers' Association on Tuesday jointly released a statement -- which was negotiated with the students' parents -- that said the Oct. 31 incident was fueled by ''miscommunication, misunderstanding and overreaction'' and has now been resolved.

Dolores Riley, assistant district superintendent, refused comment on whether the teacher would face disciplinary action, saying it was a personnel matter.

Elaine Tzourtzouklis, president of the teachers' association, previously said the teacher was an 18-year veteran with a spotless record who had security remove the students because they became disruptive after she asked them to put the religious books away.

The association also accused the students of making up anti-religious allegations against the teacher.

But attorney Frank Mylar, who represents the students' families, has said the teacher has demonstrated ''a pattern toward derogatory treatment and comments toward the LDS faith in particular.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Paganism / Witchcraft

13. Suit Filed Against California Faculty Association Union
U.S. Newswire, Nov. 28, 2000 (Press Release)
http://www.usnewswire.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
POMONA, Calif., Nov. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following was released today by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation:

-- ''White'' Witch Files Religious Discrimination Suit Against California Faculty Association Union

-- University Professor Alleges Labor Union Refused to Accommodate His Religious Beliefs

A California State Polytechnic University professor who adheres to the Wiccan religion filed a federal suit against a powerful union for religious discrimination.

Dr. Robert L. Hurt filed the suit against the California Faculty Association (CFA) labor union in U.S. District Court with free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an organization whose sole mission is to protect employees against compulsory unionism abuse.

Hurt's objection to supporting the union centers on the Wiccan Rede, the guiding principle of Wiccan social ethics. It states ''If it harms none, do what you want.'' Hunt believes that the militant union exercises coercive power to hurt people, and consequently, it would be immoral to support the union. Since union activities violate his Wiccan faith, Hunt demanded an accommodation that would
lead to diverting his mandatory union dues to a charity instead. However, union officials rebuffed Hurt's sincere religious objection.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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14. Indonesian island sees spate of ''witch'' murders
BBC Monitoring, Nov. 28, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
A mob of masked men on the Indonesian island of Java has killed a 60-year-old person accused of witchcraft, the Indonesian newspaper 'Media Indonesia' reported on its web site on Tuesday.
(...)

The victim's father, Mat Ali, was killed five years earlier, also on suspicion of being a witch.

The newspaper noted that attacks on ''witches'' were a regular occurrence in South Malang but a recent outbreak of such incidents had ''traumatized'' local people.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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15. Fear grips Ghana as ritual killer claims 34th victim
The Observer (England), Nov. 26, 2000
http://www.observer.co.uk/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
One of the world's most prolific, ghoulish serial killers is terrorising women in the West African country of Ghana. The killer - or killers - last week claimed his thirty-fourth victim in what police believe was a ritualistic murder.
(...)

Ritual serial killings caused ferment in South Africa earlier this year when the bodies of 10 women were found with candles, mirrors, knives and other objects used in blackmagic lying around.

Police suspect witch doctors were involved in a separate series of killings in the Orange Farm township of South Africa, when the partial remains of three young girls were found. Police said the mutilations suggested the children had been killed for their body parts by sangomas (witch doctors) to strengthen their muti (magic).
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Hate Groups

16. City can't block Klan cross
The Cincinnati Enquirer, Nov. 28, 2000
http://enquirer.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The threat of personal lawsuits by the Ku Klux Klan kept Cincinnati officials Monday from denying the Klan a permit to erect a cross on Fountain Square.

After weeks of attempts to find legal grounds to deny the Klan's Dec. 2 permit, city lawyers told City Council it has ''no choice but to approve the application and issue the permit.''

If not, they cautioned that each council member who agreed to deny the permit - and deny the group's First Amendment right to free speech - could lose protection provided to legislators and be held liable for punitive damages if a lawsuit were filed.

That's because they say the city is bound by a permanent court injunction from preventing the Klan or anybody else from erecting a cross on Fountain Square.

So instead, council members and the city manager are telling the media to ignore the Klan in news reports.
(...)

Several reasons for blocking the Klan have been raised, including the group's record as a ''terrorist organization,'' its violation of laws prohibiting masks, and its use of rhetoric to inspire fighting and violence. Deputy Solicitor Bob Johnstone said none of these reasons is compelling enough to overturn court rulings in favor of the Klan.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* The KKK is a hate group, and has nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity.

Suggestion to the city council: temporarily rename Fountain Square to ''Rosa Parks Memorial Square'' for as long as the KKK has its display there.


17. Germany braced for neo-Nazi terror blitz
The Observer (England), Nov. 26, 2000
http://www.observer.co.uk/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
German neo-Nazis are stockpiling firearms and bomb-making equipment and organising into cells reminiscent of the left-wing Baader-Meinhof gang of the 1970s.

The change in tactics by the extreme Right has raised fears that neo-Nazis, whose political parties are under attack and facing bans in Germany, may be on the verge of launching a large-scale terrorist campaign. The warnings came as neo-Nazis marched in Berlin yesterday to protest against the proposed banning of the far-right National Democratic Party by German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

Anti-terrorism experts are increasingly concerned that neo-Nazis - responsible for more than 130 largely racist murders since reunification a decade ago - may be preparing to target businessmen, state employees and left-wing figures. Amid warnings of a surge in both racist attacks and applications for membership of the NPD, internal security chiefs announced last week that they had seized record amounts of weapons and explosives from neo-Nazis, including pipe-bombs and machine guns in half a dozen raids this year.

Heinz Fromm, head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), which monitors extremist violence, said last week that police and state security agencies were alarmed by the way in which neo-Nazis were discussing terrorism to back their political aims. Fromm's warning coincides with a report from the European Union's main racism monitoring centre showing a sharp rise in racist attacks across the EU. 'The whole scene in Europe has become much more violent, especially in France, Germany, Sweden and several other countries,' Beate Winkler, the centre's director, said last week.

It also comes as Germany's central law enforcement agency, the Bundeskrim-inalamt, reported on Friday that 11,000 far-right, racist and xenophobic crimes had been investigated in the 12 months to the end of October, an increase of more than 20 per cent on the previous year.

The first hard evidence of a dangerous change in the tactics of Europe's neo-Nazis emerged a year ago when the police and anti-fascist campaigners logged a meeting of extreme-right activists from Germany, Sweden, Norway and Britain, near Oslo.

While members of the Far Right meet regularly, this get-together was unusual for its agenda: tactics for eliminating political opponents. It was taken seriously enough by police in the state of Lower Saxony to feel compelled to warn trade unionists and left-wingers to check their mail for letter-bombs. At the same time observers of the Far Right in Germany, Austria and Scandinavia were warning that German neo-Nazis and their counterparts elsewhere had begun preparing lists of potential targets and gathering intelligence.
(...)

'What we are seeing,' says Graeme Atkinson, European editor of the anti-Nazi organisation Searchlight, 'is a very worrying trend in the organisation of far-right groups with a view to committing terrorism. They are talking about creating a ''leaderless resistance'' of terrorist cells - what they call a ''brown underground'' - and of ensuring the creation of liberated zones, with foreigners driven out from rural areas and smaller towns.'

'The far-right extremists have not yet build up the logistic structures the RAF had,' says Fromm. 'But attacks could still be carried out by organisations that are not as tightly organised.'

Fromm's comments came during an address to a symposium on far-Right violence in Wiesbaden last week.
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18. Aryan guard to be set free
The Spokesman-Review, Nov. 23, 2000
http://www.spokesmanreview.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
A former Aryan Nations security guard who fired an assault rifle at a North Idaho woman and her son is being released from prison.

John S. Yeager served 14 months of a maximum five-year sentence for aggravated assault.
(...)

The judge signed the order without conducting a court hearing where prosecutors could have publicly objected to Yeager's early release.

Yeager was sentenced by Hosack last May to serve 30 months in prison.

But at that sentencing hearing in Coeur d'Alene, the judge retained jurisdiction over Yeager's case.

That sentencing technique allows a judge to review sentencing after an inmate has completed 180 days of a sentence at a state boot camp at Cottonwood, Idaho.

State probation officials recommended to the judge that Yeager be released from prison and be placed on probation for four years.
(...)

Lansing Haynes, deputy prosecuting attorney for Kootenai County, said Wednesday he was surprised to learn of the judge's order releasing Yeager from prison.

Haynes declined further comment, other than to say, ''For me to comment is to potentially criticize a judge's decision, and the canons of ethics prevent me from doing that.''

Yeager was identified as the gunman among three guards who left the Aryan compound in July 1998 and chased and shot at Victoria and Jason Keenan.
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=== False Memory Syndrome

19. The sins of the mother?
St. Petersburg Times, Nov. 26, 2000
http://www.sptimes.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
He says she abused him when he was a child. Heartbroken, she says it's not true. Was she a molester? Or is something wrong with his memory?
(...)

In the late 1970s, a controversial form of psychotherapy led thousands of people to unearth previously ''hidden'' memories of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of their parents.

The therapy has since been widely discredited. But cases of so-called ''recovered memory'' continue to arise, and the despair and indignation of both the accuser and the accused are always intense. As always, the conflicts are rooted in the power and fallibility of memory.

In the end, a question often remains amid the broken relationships: How does one know whose version of the truth to believe?

This story differs in a fundamental way from many cases documented over the years. It has unfolded in letters and e-mails that have been provided to the Times by the mother, a 71-year-old St. Petersburg retiree and former Pinellas County educator, who, like most other family members interviewed in this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Her world was turned upside down, she says, when she received that first letter. She says she felt stunned and confused, at a loss to imagine what her son was talking about.
(...)

Whether or not this is a case of recovered memory, stories such as this are surprisingly commonplace at the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, a support group for parents accused of abuse by adult children.

''There isn't anybody who doesn't feel that sexual abuse is a real problem,'' says Pamela Freyd, executive director of the foundation, based in Philadelphia. ''But what we're talking about is a different problem, and one that will drain resources that could be going to help real children in the here and now.''

Freyd's organization traces its roots to a 1991 Philadelphia Inquirer article about a woman who said she recovered memories of incest while in therapy. She cut off relationships with her parents and others who would not acknowledge her claim.

A University of Pennsylvania psychiatrist quoted in the piece, Dr. Harold Lief, received hundreds of calls from families in similar situations. One year later, a group of families and professionals from Penn and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore founded the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Its goal: to document the cases and spread helpful information about memory to affected parents.

Parents flocked to the foundation with tales of anguish and bewilderment. Freyd recalls elderly fathers, crushed by abuse allegations from daughters, who simply lost their will to live and eventually died ''brokenhearted.'' The foundation's first national conference in 1992 served as a mass catharsis for the hundreds of parents who packed it.

''One father told me that the foundation provided an intellectual framework for understanding the problem,'' recalls Freyd, ''and that moved it beyond the realm of just personal pain into a social issue which one could begin to grasp.''

The roots of the recovery movement
At the same time, a Boca Raton independent book publisher named Eleanor Goldstein saw stories about the foundation and joined forces with Freyd. They studied emerging cases and published articles and books on the subject. Goldstein traced the genesis of the recovered memory approach, searching for causes and trends.

She says the groundwork was laid by the radical feminist movement of the '70s, pushing an agenda ''that we are a patriarchy and men intentionally abuse women in order to keep them under control.''

As the '80s arrived, the recovery movement was beginning to flourish. There were books on co-dependency, John Bradshaw's television shows and conferences about healing the inner child, and self-help conventions galore.

A key element of the movement was this belief: An alcoholic parent could have abused a child but would have blacked out and have had no memory of it.

''(The recovery movement said to people), ''If there's anything wrong with your life, you were probably abused as a child. You will never heal unless you go into therapy. You must go to the kind of therapist that will help you go back to your early childhood to remember the abuse.' ''

Goldstein noticed a pattern in the cases.

''The common elements were that, first of all, (the accusers) were people in close families, well-knit,'' she says. ''The accusations usually came from daughters, primarily in their 30s and 40s. These were women who had in common certain activities in their lives; among them, most belonged to either a radical feminist group, a recovery group like Al-Anon, a New Age movement -- one of these three.''

Goldstein's research soon involved 20 families. In almost every case, the accusing daughters had read a 1988 book called The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Written by two women in California who were not medically trained, the book makes a bold assertion.

''It says that most people are sexually abused by the time they are teenagers,'' says Goldstein, ''and they forget it because the memory is so strikingly bad that you repress it.''

Goldstein points out that the word repression is used throughout the book, along with statistics that one of three women, and one of seven men, are sexually abused by the age of 16, and the majority of them repress the memory. It includes graphic accounts of fathers sexually abusing infant daughters in their cribs and prescribes a detailed protocol for healing, including confronting the alleged abuser.

''What happens is, once you state that experience, it becomes very real,'' says Goldstein. ''You say, ''Well, I sort of remember, it's coming back to me.' Then you're told to write all this down in your journal -- ''It doesn't matter if it's true or not, just write it down because it will help you and it probably is true anyway.' So it went on and on this way.''

More and more therapists -- many only counselors with little training, but also some licensed psychiatrists and psychologists -- began putting recovered memory techniques into practice, often involving hypnosis and the power of suggestion. Against that backdrop came the rampant allegations of sexual abuse against elderly parents.

''There was a constellation of symptoms,'' says Goldstein. ''They'd read The Courage to Heal. They'd all say, ''Do not contact me for six months so I can have time to heal.' Three women I saw all wrote virtually the same letter on yellow legal paper, like they were following a manual. And when you heard the hurt and desperation in a 70-year-old parent's voice, tied in with all these other things, you had a pretty clear picture of everything.''

The wave of charges waned in the mid-'90s as a trickle, then a flood of accusers retracted their allegations. That was followed by a deluge of lawsuits and multimillion-dollar settlements that put many practitioners out of business. (See related story.)

Volumes of scientific research have questioned the validity of recovered memories. In his book Searching for Memory: the brain, the mind and the past, Harvard University psychology professor Daniel L. Schacter concludes that, though there have been some documented cases of recovered memories of sexual abuse, there is not enough data available to support their accuracy.

Schacter cautioned that any therapist ''who engages in undisciplined interpretation of fears, attractions and other symptoms may be taking a step down a road to disaster.''

Elizabeth Loftus, a professor of psychology and adjunct professor of law at the University of Washington, has published 18 books on memory. In one study, she attempted to plant a fictitious memory in 24 adults that, at age 5, they once became lost in a shopping mall. In the end, seven (29 percent) claimed to have a full or partial memory of the false incident.
(...)

To contact the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, call (800) 568-8882 or (215) 940-1040 or write to the foundation at 1955 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA 19103-5766. The group's Web site is http://www.fmsfonline.orgOff-site Link. To obtain related books on the subject published by Eleanor Goldstein, contact SIRS (Social Issues Resource Series) at (800) 232-7477.

Local contacts for the foundation are Bob and Janet McKelvey in Pasco County at (727) 856-7091. Bob McKelvey's story of being an accused parent, titled ''The Day the Earth Stood Still: A ''Repressed Memory' Story From Hell,'' can be accessed on the Internet at http://members.aol.com/tbskep/v11n2rpt.htmlOff-site Link.
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* The related story mentioned in the article follows this item.


20. 'Retractor' helps others find answers
St. Petersburg Times, Nov. 26, 2000
http://www.sptimes.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
After realizing that her accusations were unfounded, Laura Pasley made up with her mother, sued her therapist and reached out to others who were hurting.
(...)

Pasley, a retired secretary in the Dallas police department, is the first ''retractor'' in the ranks of the False Memory Syndrome FoundationOff-site Link. Hundreds of others have since disavowed their charges. They have lent immense credibility to the foundation's efforts.

Pasley filed a suit against her therapist on Nov. 18, 1991. She has spoken freely of her experiences on behalf of the foundation and posted her own graphic story on the Web (http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Pointe/3171Off-site Link).

She had gone into therapy suffering from bulimia and went to see a church counselor. Before long, he was demanding that she probe her memory for recollections of being sexually abused. He relied on hypnosis, made her stare at a photo of herself as a little girl and think about her inner child, and had her do ''trance writing,'' journaling while under hypnosis.
(...)

Her therapist of four years often berated Pasley for not working hard enough to dredge up memories of abuse. Finally, weary of the steady harangue, she ended her therapy.

Pasley filed her suit because she had read a newspaper story focusing on two accused parents who sounded like nice people. She had been in a group with their daughter, who had described them as satanic monsters. Pasley sought the parents out. ''They were no more satanists than me,'' she says.
(...)

The courts have agreed with her. For example, in 1995, a Pittsburgh woman was awarded $272,000 after suing a teacher and social worker who helped her ''remember'' that she had given birth to three children who were killed and that she was raped in a restaurant.

Then came the multimillion-dollar judgments in false memory cases, including two $2.5-million judgments against a single psychiatrist in Minnesota. In 1997, a patient in Wisconsin settled for $2.4-million with a psychiatrist who implanted memories of extreme satanic abuse.

Recently, another development undercut the repressed memory movement. Dr. Bennett Braun, a major force behind satanic ritual abuse beliefs in repressed memory cases, turned in his license for two years.

''If not for some professionals with credentials who were a driving force behind -- people like Bennett Braun,'' says FMS foundation director Pamela Freyd, ''this whole fad would never have gone as far as it did.''
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» Continued in Part 2

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