Monday, October 26, 2009

A Plethora of Religious & Cult News Stories -- Enjoy

Here's an add on:

Church of Scientology convicted of fraud in France

PARIS – A Paris court convicted the Church of Scientology of fraud and fined it more than euro600,000 ($900,000) on Tuesday but stopped short of banning the group as prosecutors had demanded.

The group's French branch immediately announced it would appeal the verdict.

The court convicted the Church of Scientology's French office, its library and six of its leaders of organized fraud. Investigators said the group pressured members into paying large sums of money for questionable financial gain and used "commercial harassment" against recruits.

The group was fined euro400,000 ($600,000) and the library euro200,000. Four of the leaders were given suspended sentences of between 10 months and two years. The other two were given fines of euro1,000 and euro2,000.

However, the court did not order the Church of Scientology to shut down, ruling that it would be likely to continue its activities anyway "outside any legal framework.... [more]....

Monday October 26, 2009
Hate GroupsScientology:
Scientology destroys lives Paul Haggis, the Hollywood film director, has resigned from the Church of Scientology after 35 years as a member in protest against its apparent opposition to gay marriage.

In his letter Haggis also highlights a lie told by Scientology spokesperson Tommy Davis, who in an interview with CNN denied Scientology’s policy of disconnection — in which the destructive cult forces some of its members to sever relationships with friends and family members. [video]
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FLDS The first of a dozen polygamist sect members charged with abuse of women stands trial Monday, 18 months after agents raided the group’s remote ranch and carted off more than 400 children in the largest child-custody case in American history.

Raymond Jessop, 38, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of sexual assault of a child, a charge stemming from his alleged marriage to an underage girl in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He will be tried later on a separate count of bigamy related to a second alleged underage bride.
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1 Mind Ministries:
Javon Thompson Four members of a religious cult accused of starving a 1-year-old boy to death are scheduled for trial Monday, AP reports.

Authorities say the cult members starved 1-year-old Javon Thompson to death because the boy did not say “Amen” after meals.
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Hate GroupsIslamReligious Persecution:
Pakistan Two Christians in Gojra, Pakistan who allegedly fired warning shots as an Islamist mob approached that burned seven Christians to death on Aug. 1 told Compass they were tortured after police arrested them.

From his jail cell, Naveed Masih told Compass that he and his brother were taken to the Police Training Centre in Choong, where they were kept in illegal detention for 18 days and were tortured “in so many ways ruthlessly and in inhumane ways.”
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Saturday October 24, 2009
Rifqa BaryFathima Rifqa Bary, the Ohio teenage runaway whose story of Muslim-to-Christianity conversion and charges of family abuse sparked debates about personal freedom, is going back to her home state.

Meanwhile a taped interview has been released in which the girl told Florida investigators about her religious conversion, explained how and why she ended up in Florida and detailed a fearful life with her Muslim family, including the fact she was supposed to be in an arranged marriage.
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Friday October 23, 2009
James Arthur Ray:
James Arthur Ray On one level, 51-year-old James Arthur Ray—who, the year after his life-altering television appearance authored the runaway bestseller Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want, and these days is involved in a homicide investigation—is just another Oprah guest gone bad.

On another level, he is a wakeup call for anyone who would dismiss all New Age dabbling as merely risk-free recreation, like incense and crystals.
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Bountiful polygamous community Canada will not appeal a court ruling tossing out criminal charges against two men in polygamous religious sects, authorities in British Columbia said Thursday.

Provincial Attorney General Michael de Jong said that westernmost British Columbia will instead ask its provincial Supreme Court whether Canada’s law against polygamy is constitutional.
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Scientology The Church of Scientology refused to provide records demanded by a coroner investigating the death of an Australian soldier who committed suicide two days after finishing one of the church’s intensive courses.

The Australian reports that the American headquarters of the church instructed its Australian branch to send the soldier’s “audit file” to the US – outside the coroner’s jurisdiction – before warrants were issued.
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Tony Alamo:
John Erwin Kolbeck The alleged enforcer of evangelist Tony Alamo must pay $3 million in restitution to two boys he’s believed to have beaten bloody on the preacher’s behalf and left haunted for life, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

The teens have also sued Alamo.
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Scientology Since its inception in the 1950s, the Church of Scientology has rarely been far from controversy.

And now some senior insiders who have left the church are leveling disturbing accusations against the current leader, David Miscavige. [video]
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Thursday October 22, 2009
blackmail A couple blackmailed a Muslim girl by threatening to show her family pictures of her in Western dress.

The woman, in her 20s, wore a veil in public in line with her parents’ strict beliefs.

But she changed into a T-shirt and jeans for an “innocent” but secret seaside day trip with Emal Ismaeli and Joanne Richards.

Asylum seeker, Ismaeli 34, and ex-wife Richards, 22, claimed she owed £7,000 they lent during their friendship. They threatened to show the photos to her family and fiancé unless she paid them back, Wolverhampton crown court was told.

The pair, from Lye, West Mids, admitted blackmail. Ismaeli was jailed for 15 months. Richards got 12 months.
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Baby Quran hoax A “miracle” baby has brought a kind of mystical hope to people in Russia’s mostly Muslim southern fringe who are increasingly desperate in the face of Islamist violence.

From hunchbacked grandmas to schoolboys, hundreds of pilgrims lined up this week in blazing sunshine to get a glimpse of 9-month-old baby Ali Yakubov, on whose body they say verses from the Koran appear and fade every few days. [video]
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Lord Our Righteousness ChurchMichael TravesserStrong CityWayne Bent:
Wayne Bent New Mexico attorney General Gary King’s office is opposing cult leader Wayne Bent’s petition to the state Supreme Court for bond while awaiting appeal.

Bent’s previous filings on district and state levels were both denied. Assistant Attorney General Margaret McLean asks the Supreme Court to uphold the previous courts’ rulings.

She cites no “clear and convincing” evidence that Bent, Strong City leader, won’t flee or pose danger to another person or community. She also says a reversal or order for a new trial is unlikely and argues there are no grounds to revisit granting an appeal bond.
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John Travolta A mistrial has been declared in the trial of two people accused of attempting to extort millions from actor John Travolta after the death of his 16-year-old son, Jett.

Judge Anita Allen thought someone in the jury had had inappropriate communications outside of the jury room, where jurors had been deliberating for eight hours.

The judge received information that an announcement had been made at a local political rally that one of the defendants had been found not guilty.
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Atheism Australian atheists are under attack, with the websites of both the Atheist Foundation of Australia and the Global Atheist Convention knocked offline in a major cyber attack yesterday afternoon.

The attacks may be related to the Global Atheist Convention, which is being held in Melbourne in March next year.
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