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Witchcraft crime on the rise in the UK

Witchcraft crime on the rise in the UK

A BBC investigation into faith-based crime, broadcast yesterday on Radio 5, claimed that a special Metropolitan Police team – Operation Violet – has seen a significant increase in reports of crimes related to witchcraft in London.

But other areas don’t have such specialist expertise and half of police forces in the UK are failing to record cases. Campaigners say children remain at risk in the absence of a coordinated national response to the problem.

The BBC reported here that the Metropolitan Police said there had been 60 crimes linked to faith in London so far this year. It saw reports double from 23 in 2013 to 46 in 2014.

The NSPCC said authorities:

Need to ensure they are able to spot the signs of this particular brand of abuse.

Terry Sharpe, from the Project Violet team, said cases remained small in number, but there had been a significant increase, covering a spectrum of seriousness.

You’ll get the actual physical abuse and injuries taking place, and, in the worst-case scenario, we’ve had some homicides as well.

We’ve had a case within the last year where a nine-year-old boy had been called a devil child and thrown out of his address by his parents and was found by social services standing in his bare feet.

In another case a child was attacked by his mother, who bit him on the face and tried to smother him, because she believed he was a “witch possessed by evil spirits”.

Debbie Ariyo, founder of Africans Unite Against Child Abuse, said accusations were often made when families experienced problems:

Children are blamed – especially stepchildren.

She added that within churches there was often a financial motivation behind accusations.

The pastor says there’s a witch in this church today; looks around and points to a child. That means public humiliation for the family. The next step is exorcism which is not done for free. It’s a money-making scam.

She warned against viewing the issue as solely affecting the African community, as her organisation has supported victims from other faiths and cultural backgrounds, including the South Asian community.

An NSPCC spokesman said:

While the number of child abuse cases involving witchcraft is relatively small, they often include horrifying levels of cruelty.

The authorities which deal with these dreadful crimes need to ensure they are able to spot the signs of this particular brand of abuse and take action to protect children before a tragedy occurs.

Shockingly, in 2012, Islington Council in London seriously considered sending a boy, who had been taken into care, to the the Congo to be exorcised of evil spirits. It abandoned the plan after spending £4,000 to send an expert to the Congo to investigate child exorcisms.

On October 9, Radio 4 broadcast a horrifying award-winning play – Charlene James’ Cuttin’ It – which looked at the issue of female genital mutilation through the eyes of a young Somalian Muslim who unsuccessfully tries to to prevent her sister from being ritually mutilated at a bloody FGM ceremony in London.

Hat tip: Trevor Blake, BarrieJohn & Robert Stovold (witchcraft report).

17 responses to “Witchcraft crime on the rise in the UK”

  1. Newspaniard says:

    Savages would be happier wearing loin cloths and living in mud huts in the jungle.

  2. L.Long says:

    People will use any excuse to justify their hate & bigotry. There is not religious crime there is just crime! You harm another person for any reason than self defense you have committed ASSAULT! There is no reason for it. throw them in jail, there is no need to mention their religion and give it any power.
    For FGM the person who does it on any girl below the age of adult consent is guilty of ASSAULT! Period!!!! And the parents who helped are also guilty!!

  3. Brummie says:

    @ L.Long. It’s GM not just FGM. Male circumcision, for non-medical reasons, on children is also assault. Why do we still turn a blind eye to this atrocity happening around us?

  4. Angela_K says:

    This witchcraft nonsense was going on before the christian missionaries latched on to it and now the christians are using daft beliefs to scam the gullible.

  5. barriejohn says:

    Newspaniard: That’s an appalling remark. As Brummie says, what about those people (mainly white and middle class in Europe) who think that their god requires them to cut off a piece of their son’s penis? My Plymouth Brethren friends – and a great many other evangelical believers – still think that witchcraft is prevalent on society, so we don’t need to bring race into the argument!

  6. Stephen Mynett says:

    Evangelicals are using lingering local superstitions to help promote their god arguments. There has been a rise in “witchcraft” related violence, especially to children, and the majority of those cases are church based. The root cause of this is Western Evangelism, whatever race the preachers now may be, they were almost all trained/influenced by wealthy westerners who are deluded enough to think they are some sort of crusade for their particular brand of god.

  7. dennis says:

    L.Long not only assault but rape by the cutter and the parents.
    witchcraft should be extended to include the hours of time spent at church and holly book indoctrination; see damaged humans coming out of the “holy” places. lets place elementary science books in the pews for the adults. I am not being cynical about adult intellect here just understand their demonic witchcraft personae they have been taught.

  8. Broga says:

    The accusation of witchcraft and the “ability” to perform an exorcism gives enormous status and power to the exorcists. And money, of course, as where there is religion there are money making scams. Despite this the providing of rational, secular approaches to living are not encouraged by the government. On the contrary they support the religious mafia at the BBC and faith schools.

  9. Trevor Blake says:

    Did you read about the atheist organization that beats people for irrationality and cuts off parts of their children’s genitals? No? Must be because we lack the moral compas that religious believers have. That’s why we’re so angry all the time. If only we had the peace of mind that comes from beating people and mutilating the genitals of children.

  10. Laura Roberts says:

    @L.Long: not sure whether I agree or not. On the one hand, not mentioning their religion brings their behavior into sharper focus: a stark contrast with the behavior of decent folk. On the other hand, noting that their religion was a motivating factor also highlights the atrocious features of the religion. It’s hard for me to say which approach would be more productive in the long run.

  11. Vanity Unfair says:

    Might I just point out that “5 Live Investigates” and the play, “Cuttin’ it”were broadcast by the BBC?
    That’s the same BBC that comes in for criticism on this website for tugging the forelock to organised religions.

  12. Dazed says:

    This is what religion does … it convinces people to believe in evil spirits and demons when there are none, it convinces people that charlatans and hucksters can excise and drive out the evil spirits and demons that aren’t there, it convinces people that everything they need to know is contained in a confected book of lies and myths, convinces people that there is an almighty supernatural being that can see and hear everything, convinces people that the almighty supernatural being created everything, convinces people to listen to religious leaders who peddle lies and hipocracy instead of teaching critical thinking and common sense, convinces people that the almighty supernatural being listens to their prayers, that the almighty supernatural being talks to them and tells them to things that are wicked and evil,and gives the opportunity to those who are not taken in to exploit and retard those that are too ignorant and gullible to notice they have been conned. That child is a witch, thrash the little bastard to within an inch of its life to drive out the evil spirit and save it from hell. Of and you need hand over some dosh as well to make sure the demons are banished.

  13. L.Long says:

    Sorry Dennis but I do say they are stupid!!!
    I was raised in that same system of witches are demons of satan Yada Yada etc.
    So I don’t consider myself to be exceptional in intelligence, but some one once criticized me for calling some one stupid. So I answered ‘ well then either they are stupid or I’m a phucking genius! ‘ So OK we here who where also taught this BS, we are geniuses!!!! Because we figured out that magic is BS and hurting others is wrong!!!

  14. TreenonPoet says:

    @Vanity Unfair:
    The BBC Radio 5 broadcast did mention religion a number of times, and the corresponding BBC News page alluded to it, but I got the impression that the relevant religious beliefs (such as in witchcraft) were considered errant – not ‘proper’ religion. I was reminded of a BBC Radio 4 programme a few years ago about exorcism in which a priest described seeing a possessed victim levitate. The BBC interviewer performed the acoustic equivalent of not batting an eyelid. Over and over, the BBC reinforce the notion that there is nothing wrong with this elusive proper religion. God is frequently mentioned as if there was no question of His existence, and after a disaster, it is apparently an important bit of news that people are praying for the victims. These examples, balancing sense with lunacy, are a form of top-up indoctrination.

    If the BBC reported the facts, they would say something like Dazed posted at 4:58 pm, which would make an excellent Thought For The Day, but atheists are banned from contributing to that Radio 4 interlude.

  15. Vanity Unfair says:

    To TreenonPoet:
    There is not much in what you say to which I would take exception.
    I cannot recall a documentary on exorcism so am barred from worthwhile comment. There is a school of programme-making that believes in giving witnesses enough rope. Possibly this was the case here. However my view is not valid for the reason stated.
    I have complained to the BBC about TFTD. The official reply, that it is not part of the Today programme but of the Religious Department, I find illogical. Today editors have sometimes sneaked in an atheist thought outside TFTD but this is a rare occurrence. I wonder whether we could get Barry as a guest editor over Christmas? I don’t know how they are chosen but, if he is willing, a few emails to today@bbc.co.uk might be helpful.
    You are definitely right about God as the default setting after disasters but it would take a very brave or rude reporter to disabuse relatives of victims at such a delicate time. The egregious interviewing of clerics is, however, another matter.
    On the whole, though, I think the BBC should be congratulated for these two programmes. It is just a pity that they are a rarity.

  16. TreenonPoet says:

    @Vanity Unfair:
    Thank you for your reply. Just to be clear, I was not trying to suggest disabusing relatives of victims just after a disaster, but there is no need for news bulletins to reinforce religious beliefs.

    Putting aside the messages that are conveyed by the act of inviting clerics (rather than, say, professional philosophers) to comment on issues of morality, there is the problem of deference to their outpourings. I understand what you mean by giving enough rope, but I do not expect all listeners (especially those who have been primed to believe clerics) to be sufficiently discerning. If a Roman Catholic bishop talks about demonic possession, the rope he is being given may hang an innocent child, so to speak, even if the bishop claims that diagnosis of possession can only be done by a trained ‘expert’. Perhaps if the influential BBC did not allow clerics to get away with baloney so often, there would not be so many consequences to report on.

    (Don’t get me wrong, I oppose the abolition of the BBC.)