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20130809 Benoni City Times – Mayor speaks out against cult religions

20130809 Benoni City Times - Mayor speaks out against cult religions

From the web: looklocal.co.za.

“Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele has, in the strongest terms possible, condemned the “dastardly and barbaric occurrences” in Daveyton.

This follows the latest incident, in which a 19-year-old boy is alleged to have killed his mother in what is believed to be another satanic ritual.

We see here a strange phenomenon taking place, where children commit violent acts of molesting their parents and relatives in the name of cult religion,” said Gungubele in his speech at the council meeting, in Germiston, on August 1.

He called the situation “regrettable”.

“The time is now, more than ever before, to stand up as council and mobilise communities to bring this to an end,” he added.

He called upon all to join the call to fight the scourge that is threatening social stability in the communities.

“For us to defeat these social ills, we need our communities to stand up against the perpetrators of such hate crimes and show them that there is no room for madness in our society,” said the mayor.

These delinquents, he said, need to be flushed out of communities and banned for ever.

Horrific incidents such as this one are slowly becoming a norm in the area.

In February, a 40-year-old Mayfield man was arrested after he allegedly beheaded his wife, and, in May, a 14-year-old Etwatwa boy allegedly hacked to death four members of his family with an axe.

They are all facing murder charges.”

Read the analysis of this article after the Background section.

BACKGROUND:

This article refers to the incident reported in tabloid newspapers in South Africa, describing the attack as “horrific”. Below is an original quote from the Daily Sun:

DailySunJuly292013

“DAILY SUN FRONT PAGE

Daily Sun (July 29 2013) – NEIGHBOURS heard the terrible cries of a woman in a life and death struggle . . . Through the broken window, they saw the attacker sucking the blood of the dead woman and biting her flesh.

LATER, THE MURDEROUS RAMPAGE ENDED WHEN THE WOMAN’S OWN SON WAS REMOVED FROM THE BLOOD-SOAKED ROOM!

The 19-year-old teenager came home at about 3am on Saturday morning. It appears that when his mother, Zanele Mayisa (44), opened the door, a fight started. The young man was allegedly armed with a screwdriver and he stabbed her repeatedly.

His father tried to help but the possessed teenager overpowered him and hit him with a sharp object. When the father and the boy’s 87-year-old gogo ran out of the house looking for help, the teenager locked the door. Neighbours who came broke the bedroom window.

“We threw rocks at him because we wanted him to stop sucking her blood but instead he just roared like a lion.” A neighbour who didn’t want to be identified told Daily Sun they saw the man sucking the woman’s blood and eating her flesh.

“First he ripped her ear off, then moved to her neck and forehead,” said the neighbour. The police were called to the scene and they managed to pull the boy off his dead mother’s body but they could not stop the neighbours from assaulting him.

The police took him to the local clinic but the nurses at the clinic refused to help him, saying that they were scared of him because they said he was still roaring. The police took him to the Far East Hospital for a check-up. SAPS provincial spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, confirmed the incident.

He said the teenager had killed his mother and neighbours had assaulted him. Dlamini said: “There are allegations he was drinking blood from his mother’s wounds. He is under guard at the hospital and will be charged with murder.” The police are still investigating.”

ANALYSIS:

The writer of the Benoni City Times article presents the Mayors biased views without anything resembling an attempt at objectivity or journalistic professionalism. The statements made by the Mayor are repeated almost verbatim, without any attempt to provide background on the topic or anything to suggest that the Mayor is not educated in alternative religions – presented as “religious cults” in the article.

The Mayor’s comments suggest that he has simply assumed that this crime is “occult related” simply because of the degree of viciousness of the attack. In a situation where hysteria and panic about “Satanists” hiding and committing crimes of this nature in a society are not at issue, anyone would first assume the perpetrator of such a crime was mentally affected in some way, or had been using illegal mind-altering drugs – instead, in this case, the Mayor is clearly more inclined to place blame on “religious cults” and “Satanists” in his area. The writer of the article has, instead of demonstrating impartiality, chosen to support the Mayor’s view, and this is apparent in the visible bias of the article.

The Mayor refers to the crime as if the perpetrator had been part of a religious cult practising a form of human sacrifice, calling it a “Satanic ritual”. Since when is a person losing his mind, stabbing his mother multiple times over an argument, eating her ear and drinking her blood – and “roaring like a lion” part of a “Satanic ritual”?

Also, were it a ritual killing, as claimed by the Mayor, and assuming that the perpetrator was perfectly sane – something which given the circumstances should be considered incredibly unlikely – would he not have taken greater care and premeditation in the commission of this act? Rituals after all take planning, care, a calm spiritual state and a clear mind, not violence, screaming and the loss of mental control. Premeditation would have been indicated by control and planning – the victim screamed and the crime scene was a big mess, very hard to clean up – and even harder to conceal. No – the evidence presented in the original articles about this crime would suggest that in all likelihood this person just “snapped”, possibly while under the influence of either a mental condition or of narcotics – how does the Mayor reconcile these two contradictory states?

The writer of the article also mentions several other unrelated criminal acts in the same vicinity, and in such a way as to suggest that they may *also* be “occult” in nature – even though nothing factual in any article posted on this case to date has come to light to tie this crime to any religion or alleged “harmful religious practice” – the term used by the SAPS ORC unit.

The writer also suggests – without the mention of ANY supporting statistics or references, that “Horrific incidents such as this one are slowly becoming a norm in the area.”

Through the use of such apparent stand-alone authoritative statements, the impression is conveyed that there is an epidemic of “Satanist ritual killings” happening in the area, that this is a trend on the increase – and coupled with the Mayor’s unwarranted “call to action”, a sense of urgency and panic is created.

The Mayor speaks of hate crime, using the term out of context to describe the violence of the topical crime – but doesn’t even realize that what he has done here IS a hate crime – by spreading false information and blaming the consequences of either a mental break down or drug abuse on the adherents of clearly misunderstood minority alternative religions – and to incite hostility against them!

This man has done nothing but demonstrate his own ignorance of what other religions are about, and has in short done nothing but place blame upon innocent people by enforcing the false stereotype that anyone who is part of an occult or non-mainstream religious group, is a dangerous criminal,immoral and a threat to society in general.

The Mayor should rather condemn the crime and address the problems of drug abuse, violence or mental illness and the appropriate handling of such cases – not presume to speak against the rights of law abiding citizens who follow alternative religions by scapegoating them for criminal acts committed by lunatics!

He is the Mayor of a town – NOT someone who, in his official capacity, is in a position to dismiss the civil rights of people protected by the Constitution which guarantees the right to freedom of religion.

Religion is not crime – CRIME is crime!

IMPLICATIONS:

This sort of biased media reporting re-enforces the inaccurate notion that VIOLENCE = ALTERNATIVE RELIGION and ALTERNATIVE RELIGION = VIOLENCE – and then, that ALTERNATIVE RELIGION constitutes a THREAT.

This article represents more anti-diversity propaganda which attacks the rights of alternative religions to exist, by creating the false impression that minority religious identities are threatening, while spreading false information about these by deliberately linking their existence to violent crimes even though no proof exists or is provided to demonstrate that such is the case.

People reading this sort of article are likely to be influenced to fear and distrust people who they feel are affiliated to “cult religions” and specifically those whom they identify as “Satanists” or other occultists. This may even place the lives and well-being of people so identified at unnecessary and avoidable risk.

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