Sunday, May 24, 2015

At Mosque, Brazil Celebrates First Place in Religious Freedom

At Mosque, Brazil Celebrates First Place in Religious Freedom

Brazil ahead of the United States in religious freedom, according to Pew Research Center

By Julio Severo
Brazil lost the world soccer cup last year, but at least it is being celebrated for achieving the first place in religious freedom in late April, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, in a report by the Religious News Service.
Ecumenical meeting in Mesquita Brasil (Brazilian Mosque)
On April 29, Latin America’s largest and oldest mosque, Mesquita Brasil, brought some 700 leaders together for its Celebration of Religious Freedom where Muslims, Afro-Brazilians (similar to voodoo) adherents, Mormons, Sikhs, spiritualists, Jews, Catholics, Protestants and Rev. Moon adherents dined side-by-side to commemorate Brazil’s status as a leader in religious freedom. The theme was, “Brazil a voice to the world.”
Among the 25 most populous countries, Brazil is in the first place in religious freedom, even ahead of the United States, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.
Sheikh Abdel Hammed Metwally, religious leader of Mesquita Brasil, said, “This will be the first of many meetings.” He highlighted this event will show “the world how Brazil stands out in leading position, by tolerating and peacefully accommodating the most diverse creeds.”
Among the speakers was Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He said, “I encourage you to hold fast to the freedoms you have forged at home and to lead courageously in promoting religious freedom on the world stage.”
About the first place of Brazil in religious freedom, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF) said:
“The high level of religious freedom in Brazil is notable as the country arguably undergoes one of the most dynamic religious shifts in the world today, with no religious or sectarian conflict. In light of recent research showing that religion is on the rise worldwide, the Brazilian example is worth highlighting and understanding, particularly when day to day we witness stories from across the world on the role of religion in conflict situations. Brazil is exceptional in terms of religious freedom. Among the 26 most populous countries, Brazil has the lowest restrictions on religious freedom of them all. Brazil has lower restrictions, in fact, than the United Kingdom and the United States, where restrictions have been rising.”
TBFF also said on Brazil, “there have been no reported incidents of hostility over conversions or proselytism.”
Brazil has the world’s largest Catholic population, but religious freedom was not a Brazilian tradition for a long time. While in the U.S., the largest Protestant nation in the world, Catholics enjoyed significant freedom in the 1700s and 1800s, in Brazil Protestants enjoyed minimal or no freedom at all. Even in the 1900s, Protestants were persecuted in Brazil, and this persecution was not merely criticism, but physical and economical persecution.
The fact that Brazil has been congratulated for a supposed distinction of peaceful tolerance and religious freedom is very strange, and stranger when such distinction is celebrated in a mosque.
In the 1990s, under Marxist President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the Ministry of Education instructed Brazilian schools to address witchcraft, or Brazilian voodoo, as mere and unharmful “culture.”
In the past decade, under the socialist Lula administration, the Brazilian government advanced this conception, by treating witchcraft adherents as “oppressed minorities” and by treating Christian preaching against witchcraft as “hate crime.” The witchcraft religions are mostly from Umbanda and Candomblé, very similar to Santeria and voodoo.
The traditional Christian preaching against witchcraft began to be labeled as “persecution” against “oppressed minorities,” and witchcraft leaders were allowed to accompany the Brazilian delegation in the United Nations to voice their denunciations against “oppression” by Brazilian evangelicals against Umbanda and Candomblé adherents.
The denunciations were made especially by Ivanir dos Santos, a pai-de-santo from Rio de Janeiro. According to the Michaelis Dictionary, “pai-de-santo is a priest of an Afro-Brazilian voodoo cult,” including Macumba and Candomblé. Ivanir denounced at UN “a new kind of religious persecution in Brazil, which has aimed at temples of Candomble and the followers of African religions, in acts provoked by modern Pentecostals.” Brazil, said he, “is the only country preserving religions brought by slaves and these religions should be defended.”
The “oppression” denounced by him consists mostly of evangelicals TV shows where former Umbanda and Candomblé adherents testified about their past experiences in witchcraft and how Jesus Christ had delivered them, especially from demonic spirits.
They were not testimonies of Umbanda and Candomblé adherents being murdered by evangelicals, especially from the charismatic, Pentecostal neo-Pentecostal persuasion, but testimonies of them being transformed by Jesus Christ.
These TV shows have suffered censorship. Last year, YouTube videos containing testimonies of former adherents of Afro-Brazilian religions who are Pentecostals today were removed by judicial order, incited by Ivanir dos Santos. In his ruling, the judge stated that their testimonies were not against a religion, but against a “culture.”
These judicial persecutions are not against Pentecostals only.
In 1998, a judge in the state of Bahia, Brazil, had ordered the confiscation of a book written by Catholic priest Jonas Abib, in which he condemns witchcraft as immoral, as reported by LifeSiteNews, which said:
“The book, ‘Yes, Yes! No, No!  Reflections on Healing and Liberation,’ warns readers against the dangers of the occult, which includes the ‘Afro-Brazilian’ religions known as ‘spiritualism.’  According to Fr. Abib's website, the book has gone through 81 printings and has sold over 400,000 copies. ‘Father Jonas, like Paul, dares to denounce works of darkness, making the reader aware of mind control, yoga, astrology, magic, and the invocation of the dead, revealing the truth about works of darkness, with which it is urgently necessary to separate,’ says a summary of the book posted on the same site. Public prosecutor Almiro Sena, however, has accused Abib of ‘making false and prejudiced statements about the spiritualist religion as well as religions from Africa, like Umbanda and Candomble, as well as a flagrant incitement to destruction and disrespect for their objects of worship.’ He added that the violation was more serious because ‘the State Constitution (of Bahia) says that it is the obligation of the state to preserve and guarantee the integrity, respectability, and permanence of the values of Afro-Brazilian religion.’”
Former Lula administration and the current Dilma Rousseff administration (both the most socialist governments in the Brazilian history) had and have active policies to protect Afro-Brazilian religions as a “culture” inherited from African slaves. While Catholic and Protestant traditions have increasingly been banned from schools and other government places because the State is “secular,” Afro-Brazilian religions and their practices are making inroads, with state assistance, into schools and other places, in a privileged way. Because Christianity is religion, and Afro-Brazilian religions are “culture.”
With such state protections, even Brazilian Blacks are banned from criticizing Afro-Brazilian gods, as reported by me in WND:
“In Rio, a Pentecostal [Black] minister led a criminal to Jesus and convinced him to deliver himself to police. Rev. Isaías da Silva Andrade accompanied the former criminal to police and when they asked how his life had been changed, the minister answered that the former criminal lived under the influence of demons from Afro-Brazilian religions which inspired him to criminal conduct, but now he found salvation in Jesus. Because of this innocent account, Rev. Andrade is now being prosecuted for discrimination against the Afro-Brazilian ‘culture’! If condemned, he will serve between two and five years in jail.”
As a son of a former Umbanda leader who accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I see no problem in speaking the truth about the witchcraft derived from Africa. In fact, Brazilians remember, when there was no threat of politically-correct racial censorship, the regular scandals reported by media of pai-de-santos (Afro-Brazilian priests) involved in a number of child sacrifices.
In the past, newspapers were free to report and denounce child sacrifices in the Afro-Brazilian religions. You can find a lot of old reports on these crimes involving child rapes and murders by Afro-Brazilian priests. But nowadays, under the watchful state eye, only flattering reports are allowed, such as “oppressed” religion, “threatened” religion, etc.
Today, the Brazilian media no longer reports pai-de-santos sacrificing children. And they are unwilling to talk about other related crimes.
When Pentecostal minister Francisco de Paula Cunha de Miranda was stabbed to death by an Afro-Brazilian priest in 2008, the Brazilian media remained silent.
Miranda, 47, was murdered in Rio Grande do Sul. He was Black (and cannot, even after his death, be accused of “racism”) and was on his 33rd day of fasting and prayer when pai-de-santo Júlio César Bonato, possessed by exu caveira (demon of death in the Afro-Brazilian “culture”), left his temple during a ritual to go to the minister.
The pai-de-santo returned to his ritual with his ritualistic knife bloody.
The minister, who was very weak because of the long fasting, was stabbed to death.
The Brazilian media remains silent about this horrific murder even today.
Last year, a group of Umbanda adherents stabbed to death another evangelical, Nilton Rodrigues, 34, and wounded others, including an evangelical minister, João Carlos de Oliveira. The Brazilian Media remained silent again.
I am worried that the special protection afforded to Afro-Brazilian religions may have been reinforced by Condoleezza Rice, a famous daughter of an American Presbyterian minister. In 2008, she came to Brazil to strengthen the roots of the Afro-Brazilian religions. Her example shows that the Afro-Brazilian religions are now an international interest.
As in the case of homosexuality, a mere criticism of Brazilian voodoo is treated as “prejudice, bias, discrimination, intolerance,” etc. Now, even Catholic books criticizing them are banned.
Afro-Brazilian practices that have always been seen as witchcraft by the Brazilian society have increasingly been protected by the Brazilian government and media. And Christianity and its values have increasingly lost protection and even been attacked by them.
Sodomy, which has been extoled and afforded the status of a special human right by the Brazilian socialist government, is largely practiced by Afro-Brazilian religions, where their gods and spirits entice and lead their adherents, especially their priests, into prostitution, including homosexuality.
What has been termed “religious freedom” in Brazil is merely the socialist elites following politically correct trends, especially from the U.S., where homosexuality is now culturally sanctified and Christian rights are subordinated to homosexualist whims. Brazil is following this trend. Now homosexuality cannot be criticized in the Brazilian government and media.
Along homosexuality, now Islam cannot also be criticized trend in Brazil.
The celebration in a mosque of Brazil as a champion of “religious freedom” shows that Brazil is following with complete submission U.S. leftist trends. And if the U.S. is not in the first place of such “religious freedom,” why is Brazil? Can a disciple be above his master?
Try to criticize Islam in Brazil. In 2009, four Muslim journalists filed complaints against me with federal prosecutors because of texts in my blog criticizing Islam.
Complaints were also made by homosexual militants and witchcraft adherents against my blog.
This is religious freedom in Brazil.
The event at a Brazilian mosque celebrating the alleged first place of Brazil in religious freedom is good for Islam and it is good for Brazilian voodoo.
But it is not good for Christians who are former adherents of these religions, who suffer discrimination, repression and censorship for telling the truth about their suffering in these religions.
Brazil is being catapulted into a first place of a religious freedom at the expense of these silent victims of voodoo oppression.
Even so, Sheikh Abdel Hammed Metwally, religious leader of the Mesquita Brasil, assured, “This will be the first of many meetings.”
Will mosques now be politically correct platforms for presenting the world a Brazil champion on a religious freedom at the expense of Christians and their free speech?
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