This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

The dangerous fight for the 'child witches' of Nigeria

Thanks to KimZ for the link.

"Unlike other ministries where witches and wizards are beaten or stoned to death, Liberty is the only Ministry that shows mercy to witches." So boast the Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries, whose leader, Helen Ukpabio, is claimed to be one of Nigeria's leading 'deliverers' of witches - ministering to up to a thousand at a time.

Humanist campaigner Leo Igwe and other rational-minded people in West Africa take a rather dim view of branding children 'witches', and claim that in many cases deliverance is far from the serene and gentle experience it is claimed to be. According to Igwe and charities working in the region, children "are taken to churches where they are subjected to inhumane and degrading torture in the name of 'exorcism'. They are chained, starved, hacked with machetes, lynched or murdered in cold blood." Some are apparently bathed in acid.

Criticizing these churches is not a great idea if you value a hassle-free life. In 2009 around 200 of Ukpabio's Liberty followers stormed a meeting of humanists as Igwe prepared to speak, bringing the event to an abrupt and violent end. Fortunately the police were called and intervened, but Liberty immediately sued for $1.3m dollars, apparently incensed that a meeting critical of their activities was allowed by the authorities to go ahead. The case was swiftly dismissed by Justice P.J. Nneke at the Federal High Court in Calabar.

Unfortunately the authorities aren't always on the right side. Religious groups and powerful individuals can wield significant power and influence, especially in local communities, and even senior police officers and lawmakers may share their belief in witchcraft.

Read more



The racism of the respectable

Nick Cohen - The Spectator Comments

To be a racist in Britain, you do not need to cover yourself in tattoos and join a neo-Nazi party. You can wear well-made shirts, open at the neck, appreciate fine wines and vote Left at election time.

The rebranding of circumcision as...

Brendan O'Neill - The Telegraph Comments

The rebranding of circumcision as 'child abuse' echoes the ugly anti-Semitism of medieval Europe

German court rules religious...

AFP - - Comments

Circumcising young boys on religious grounds amounts to grievous bodily harm, a German court ruled

Religious Extremism In Public Schools:...

Katherine Stewart, R. Elisabeth... Comments

Religious Extremism In Public Schools: R. Elisabeth Cornwell & Sean Faircloth interviews author Katherine Stewart

Roman Catholic Church official...

NBC News - MNSBC Comments

A Roman Catholic church official was convicted Friday of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy in a groundbreaking clergy-abuse trial

[Update] How Christian fundamentalists...

Katherine Stewart - The Guardian 36 Comments

How Christian fundamentalists plan to teach genocide to schoolchildren



Astrologers angered by stars

Martin Robbins - The Guardian 136 Comments

Comments by Professor Brian Cox and Dara O'Briain have led to a petition against 'BBC bias' by the Astrological Association of Great Britain.

A challenge to homeopaths: how does one...

Martin Robbins - 33 Comments

Homeopaths need to agree on what constitutes an overdose, and if they had an ounce of responsibility they'd be campaigning for better labels.



Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment