Sunday, September 27, 2015

Continuing Attacks on African Traditional Religions in Brazil by Evangelical Terrorists

11year old victim of Evangelical attackers
The crimes being committed by Evangelicals in Brazil should be widely known and equally widely condemned. In fact, crimes against African Inspired faiths everywhere need to be condemned and must not be tolerated. An attack against any religious faith is an attack against all. One may believe in any cosmology one wants, but enshrining intolerance and a sense of superiority over other religions is not religion, it's political hegemony and the ugliest form of bias which a religion can stoop to.

Since the Hedge last commented upon the situation in Brazil, the attacks have not stopped. The reports below show how bad the situation is.

After a second attack on his Terreiro (Afro-Brazilian Religious Temple) Pai Ribamarzinho de Goiás closed it down. Through physical violence, intimidation and hatred, the evangelical thugs appear to be waging an all out attack on traditional religions.  (Thanks to Alberto Jorge Silva for this video)

Bible planted by arsonists
Two teirreros (temples) of Candomblé were set on fire in the early hours of a Saturday morning in Goiás recently, about 5 hours apart, in the neighborhoods of Santo Antônio do Descoberto and Aguas Lindas. The owner of one of the sites, which was completely destroyed, said he found a Bible on the site after the fire.

­”The Terreiro was invaded a month ago and since then we have slept here to protect the property. It happened yesterday when I went to my home, around 6 am, a neighbor called me alerting me of the fire. When I arrived everything was destroyed” said the priest Babalorixá Pippa, 46, known as Babazinho. He ran the Terreiro that functioned in Santo Antônio do Descoberto. 

He and his wife, the Mãe de Santo (Priestess) Rejiane Varjão, held a charity supper to raise funds and thus rebuild the place, as it suffered a loss of approximately R $ 30 thousand ($7600) as a result of the previous attack. 

­ Babazinho stated “Now it's all over. We want to get out of here because we are afraid of someone doing something against our own lives. We are here with the moving van without knowing where to take what's left. The neighbors know who was responsible, but I understand they fear to talk. I believe it was an act of religious intolerance because I found a Bible inside after the fire.”

Child attending religious service attacked by Evangelicals
In another case,  in the Vila da Penha, in the north of Rio, an 11 year old girl attending a Candomblé religious service was hit on the head by a stone thrown at her by several attackers who fled the scene on a bus. The adult men with Bibles in hand called everybody at the scene 'devils', saying that “Jesus was coming back.” The girl who was left bleeding from the assault was taken to the Medical Assistance Desk (PAM) of Irajá, where doctors made a bandage on the wound.  The attack was recorded on the 38th DP (Bras de Pina) as a crime of religious intolerance and bodily injury, the child should be subjected to medical examination offense. Police are required to conduct due diligence to seek any pictures that may have been captured by security cameras and any witnesses who can help identify the perpetrators of the crime. The girl's grandmother stated to the press that her granddaughter wanted to make it publically known that she would continue her religious practice and that such attacks only make her more committed to her religious beliefs. (Information from Estadão and Extra)

The traditional peoples of African origin and religious communities see themselves as cultural resistance units in the country. These groups are characterized by maintenance of an African civilization which has survived in Brazil, constituting its own territories marked by community life, mutual aid, the reception and provision of social services.
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Mãe Dede Iansã
Another recent case involved the death of Mãe Dede Iansã, Bahia, an elderly priestess who suffered systematic aggression from people who accused her of practicing a demonic cult. The heart attack that Mother Dede suffered is interpreted as a result of grief and suffering caused by the situation. Regardless of the cause of death of this traditional religious leader , the leadership of SEPPIR, an governmental organization founded to defend traditional religious practitioners and fight racism, regrets this loss, and points out the racist component of these attacks which are too often interpreted only as religious intolerance.

Protest against Evangelical Attacks
The Brazilian people have had a guarantee of freedom of worship since the Old Republic, in the nineteenth century. However, the religious practices of peoples and communities of African origin and their organized religious communities continue to be repressed and devalued. For decades they were required to petition for  police permission to run, for example. This history demonstrates the explicit racism underlying the recent attacks made against these communities, crimes that go beyond intolerance for their religious practices, but which certainly are also a major focus of the terrorism.

Lest US residents believe their nation has a better record, it should be noted that the African derived religions of Brazil are recognized officially by the Brazilian government as a national patrimony while too often in the US, local police forces are given free reign to invade religious festivals of African derived traditions, confiscating religious objects and arresting worshippers, as used to be done in Brazil a hundred years ago.

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