Buddhist Murder Mobs Torture Men, Kill Babies

As regular Moral Compass readers know, Buddhists haven’t just gone on rampages in Sri Lanka recently: they’ve also organized into murder mobs across the Bay of Bengal, in Myanmar (the former Burma), 1,400 miles away.

Today, Swe Win, a reporter for the International Herald Tribune, provides on-the-ground reporting from Myanmar. The pandemonium that eye witnesses described to him is horrific enough that he or his editor headlined the piece “Kristallnacht in Myanmar.”

The violence stemmed from a trivial row over a broken gold clip between a Muslim jeweler and a Buddhist customer last Wednesday morning [March 20]. The brawl, which left the Buddhist customer with an injury to the head, happened in Meiktila, a trading town of 100,000 people at the center of the country, with an army base and no history of sectarian violence. The town’s Muslims have no links to the stateless Rohingyas in western Myanmar; they have a long and peaceful lineage here.

In Myanmar, Violence Against Muslims Is Used To Derail Political Reforms - NYTimes.com

Still, by that same afternoon anti-Muslim mobs were destroying the Muslim gold shops of Meiktila’s market area. Then, in revenge, local Muslims stabbed to death a monk traveling from a nearby village. That murder in turn unleashed a killing spree of Muslims on Wednesday night and over the next two days. “Any Muslim, old or young, including babies, was killed that night,” Myo Htut, an eyewitness, told me this week.

“A Muslim man around 40-years-old had his legs tied to a motorcycle and was dragged on the road. Since he was still half alive after that torture, the crowd beat him up with sticks and then burned him on the motorcycle.” Myo Htut estimated that the death toll from the three days of violence reached around 200. State media put it at 40.

Other witnesses Swe Win spoke with described

…wild mobs — including saffron-robed monks with sticks and knives — hunting down Muslims and torching entire blocks, including at least five mosques, in Muslim neighborhoods.

Swe Win himself appears to be a Buddhist, if his Twitter photo is any guide. It is to his great credit that he’s made no attempt to sweep the atrocities of his fellow Buddhists under the rug.

By contrast, one Buddhist commenter on reddit wasn’t too contrite about his tribe’s violent shenanigans.

History teaches Buddhists that when Buddhism and Islam meet, Buddhists die. … And, no, I don’t excuse [the violence in Myanmar]. I think its horrible. I wish the army would come in to separate the two communities again. However, people have a right to defend themselves as well. [emphasis added]

Read the Herald Tribune‘s account and tell me if the Buddhist brutality seems remotely like self-defense to you.

Sex Imam Beats Rap Up North; Now U.S. Gets Him

A Toronto imam who was acquitted of sex charges in Canada earlier this week was re-arrested and will be extradited to the United States, where he is wanted on charges of criminal sexual contact with a person under 13. He is alleged to have committed the sexual assaults on U.S. soil between 2000 and 2005, police said Thursday.


Mohammad Masroor was charged two years ago [in Canada] with sexually assaulting six people between November 2008 and July 2011. He was also charged with threatening death. At the time of his 2011 arrest, Masroor was an imam teaching the Qur’an to children at an east-end mosque. On Wednesday, after standing trial on seven sex-related charges, he was acquitted on all counts.

Masroor — of Bangladeshi origin — has been in Canada since 2008, police said.

He has traveled extensively with the aid of three passports under different names.

[image via the Toronto Sun]

Buddhists Losing Their Shit

If there’s one faith that displays nothing but good will toward all, as well as peacefulness and inner calm, it’s gotta be Buddhism, right?

Yeah, about that:

Several people have been injured in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, when Buddhist monks led hundreds in an assault on a Muslim-owned clothing warehouse. Buddhist monks were filmed throwing stones at the storage centre of popular garment chain Fashion Bug in a suburb of the capital on Thursday night. … The attack comes as hard-line Buddhist groups step up a campaign against the lifestyles of Muslims. ….

…The BBC’s Charles Haviland in Colombo said the monks led a crowd which quickly swelled to about 500, yelling insults against the shop’s Muslim owners and rounding on journalists seeking to cover the events. Five or six were injured, including a cameraman who needed stitches.


Eyewitnesses said the police stood and watched although after the trouble spread they brought it under control.

Reportedly, no arrests were made. The cops will no doubt get another chance, because Buddhist nationalists appear to be baying for blood:

[The] hard-line Buddhist party in the governing coalition issued a statement saying: “Sinhalese Buddhists should be determined to teach such Muslim extremists a lesson that they will never forget”.

The hatred and violence are not exactly unprecedented. For instance, last year,

A mosque in the central town of Dambulla was attacked with petrol bombs and vandalized by a mob led by radical Buddhist monks. To add insult to injury, the government bowed to the mob’s demand and ordered the mosque’s demolition and relocation.

[image via Colombo Telegraph]

More Education = Less Religion

Does more education lead to less religion?

Freakonomics author Stephen Dubner says yes, and he bases that on a study by Daniel Hungerman, an economist at Notre Dame who studies religious faith. Hungerman, using an exclusively Canadian data set, concluded that

…higher levels of education lead to lower levels of religious participation later in life. An additional year of education leads to a 4-percentage-point decline in the likelihood that an individual identifies with any religious tradition; the estimates suggest that increases in schooling can explain most of the large rise in non-affiliation in Canada in recent decades.

Of course, this is not at all the same as saying that the religious are less intelligent. For those who care to wade into that minefield, there’s Prof. Helmuth Nyborg’s 2008 study. Nyborg correlated religiosity and IQ, and found that

…atheists scored an average of 1.95 IQ points higher than agnostics, 3.82 points higher than liberal persuasions, and 5.89 IQ points higher than dogmatic persuasions.

In a separate research project that involved IQ levels of almost 7,000 U.S. adolescents, Nyborg and a fellow academic, Prof. Richard Lynn, concluded that atheists scored six IQ points higher than non-atheists. They also found that at the international level, the nations with the biggest populations of atheists are the ones that scored highest for overall intelligence.


Fundamentalists are very often wary of children receiving a good (higher) education, and now we know that, in their own warped way, they’re completely right.

[image via pkpolitics]

Taliban Victim (15) Gets Book Deal

Excellent. Can’t keep this girl down. Via CNN:


The Pakistani teenager who survived an assassination attempt and inspired a worldwide movement for girls’ education will soon become a published author.

Malala Yousafzai, 15, says she wants her book, “I Am Malala,” to reveal and help children across the world who still struggle to get to school.

“I want to tell my story, but it will also be the story of 61 million children who can’t get education,” she said in a statement released by her British publisher, Weidenfeld and Nicolson. “I want it to be part of the campaign to give every boy and girl the right to go to school. It is their basic right.”

Yousafzai was shot by Taliban gunmen in her native Swat, Pakistan, last October. After emergency surgery in Pakistan she was flown to Birmingham, England, for medical treatment and has just begun school. The book will document the shooting, her survival and her recovery, which have turned her into a global ambassador.

[image via MalalaDay]

Psst! Wanna Buy a Fake Car From This Prophet?

Got Ferrari taste but a Toyota budget? No problem. The good people at Super Replicas, a Panama-based company that purports to sell perfect supercar knockoffs, will gladly take your money.

But will you ever see your vehicle?

Is the Pope a Muslim?

The car site Jalopnik published an investigation of Super Replicas today. Jalopnik writer Patrick George, digging his way through the murk and the often confounding digital fingerprints left behind by Super Replicas and its founder, Daniel John Seppings, discovered that

Seppings is an Australian-born Mormon who has broken away from the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and started his own extremist religious movement. He was apparently kicked out of the United States for immigration reasons, charged and acquitted of child sex crimes in Honduras, used a number of aliases over the years, and has been accused of running other scams in Central America, according to a Honduran newspaper report.


Jalopnik says that even by the standards of the Mormon Church, Seppings is a big fat phony, though the man himself has claimed to be an honest-to-God prophet.

Seppings’ views are far outside those shared by mainstream Mormons. He writes that he believes he is the prophet of some kind of “true church” and likens himself to numerous Biblical figures, complete with miracles and natural disasters and everything.

And now, it appears that he’s in Panama, hawking knockoff supercars that never get delivered to the people who send them money and claiming that Top Gear USA host Tanner Foust is the CEO of his business. (Spoiler alert: He isn’t.)

Seppings has led a colorful life in more ways than one. He’s a known bigamist (and we all know how much the Mormon church abhors bigamy). He was involuntary committed to a mental institution for a while, though it’s not clear if this occurred before or after he began likening himself to several Biblical figures.

In the nineties, Seppings traveled from Australia to the U.S., proselytized on Indian reservations, openly denounced Mormon leaders while still preaching tenets of the Mormon faith, and spent a short time in jail for trespassing while “sharing testimony” at a Mormon chapel on a Hopi reservation. Immigration officials kicked him out of the U.S. in 1999, says Jalopnik.

The way Seppings tells it, the Mormon god

sent me on the two wings of a great eagle to Honduras, where I would be protected from the dragon.

Alllll-righty then.

According to a Honduran newspaper account, Seppings, while presenting himself as a Mormon missionary, started several questionable business initiatives in his adopted country. One apparent scam involved offering an outsized salary to thousands of low-qualifications job applicants, provided they paid the blue-eyed gringo an application fee first. The jobs never materialized.

What’s more, Honduran cops soon learned that Seppings had molested two underage girls in El Paraiso, and he was arrested and charged with sexual assault.

It’s not quite clear how he beat the rap, but five years ago, maybe more, Seppings set up shop in Panama. His new line of business: selling “perfect replicas” of million-dollar supercars at “a fraction of the price of the originals.” For instance, his company, Top Gear, promises to custom-build a 1,100-horsepower Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse (a car whose original has a price tag of about $2.6 million) for just $49,000.

Part of Seppings’ genius chutzpah is that he’s not afraid to lie big. Though his business has a shingle on the net at www.topgeartvseries.com, the BBC and the makers of the famous British automotive TV show Top Gear have precisely zero to do with the Panamanian ripoff artist.

Likewise, don’t be deceived by the fact that Seppings has shamelessly and illegally copied the U.K. car show’s logo, and uses it to enhance his non-existent credibility.

Clearly, the man has a profit motive, not a prophet motive.

Speaking of prophesies, I can safely foretell this: Considering the crowd-sourced sleuthing at both Jalopnik and Scams Online, people who try to buy a knockoff car from a knockoff Mormon might end up not being impressed by Mr. Seppings’ overall godliness.

[image via Jalopnik]

Time Discovers Faith’s Dark Side

In my lifetime, people of faith will probably always be allowed more manifestations of loopiness than non-believers.

If, as a secular American, I go around licking fenceposts every afternoon, and occasionally smash my forehead into one, it probably won’t be long until a kindly police officer takes me on a ride to the nearest mental hospital.

But if I claim that my behavior is my small congregation’s way of honoring Jesus’s sacrifice — a form of penitence that allows us to spiritually travel “nearer, my God, to thee” — chances are excellent that I will be left alone. I might even draw a bit of quiet admiration for my sefless devotional sacrifice.

That said, there seems to be an increasing awareness that not all forms of religiosity are healthy. “Religious Trauma Syndrome” (RTS) is a pathology that’s no longer easily dismissed; and even Time magazine, which can hardly be accused of being hostile to religion, now wishes to temper its zeal in spreading the notion that faith is necessarily a force for good.


Can Your Child Be Too Religious? Time asks — and with some equivocating, the answer the magazine gives is a clear yes.

Religion can be a source of comfort that improves well-being. But some kinds of religiosity could be a sign of deeper mental health issues. …

Your child’s devotion may be a great thing, but there are some kids whose religious observances require a deeper look. For these children, an overzealous practice of their family faith — or even another faith  — may be a sign of an underlying mental health issue or a coping mechanism for dealing with unaddressed trauma or stress. …

Some children suffer from scrupulosity, a form of OCD that involves a feeling of guilt and shame. Sufferers obsessively worry that they have committed blasphemy, been impure or otherwise sinned. They tend to focus on certain rules or rituals rather than the whole of their faith. They worry that God will never forgive them. And this can signal the onset of depression or anxiety, says John Duffy, a Chicago area clinical psychologist specializing in adolescents. “Kids who have made ‘mistakes’ with sex or drug use,” he says, “may have trouble forgiving themselves.”

Seems self-evident, but it’s nice to see the psychological downsides of faith acknowledged in a mainstream publication.

Such fastidiousness to religious practices may not seem so harmful, but extreme behavior such as delusions or hallucinations may be a sign of serious mental illness. Seeing and hearing things that are not there can be symptoms of manic-depressive, bipolar disorder, or early onset schizophrenia. But parents may be less attuned to such unhealthy behavior when it occurs under the guise of faith.

Whole story here.

[image via aclj.org]

Pastor Loves Jesus Child Porn

In Norfolk, VA,

The pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church on Granby Street was arraigned in General District Court [yesterday] morning and remains in custody on child pornography charges. David William Smith, 35,  was arrested Wednesday on 10 counts of possession of child pornography.

Police approached Smith on Tuesday and he waived his right to an attorney, Copeland said. The pastor confessed to police, spoke with his attorney the next day and was arrested, his lawyer said.

Copeland said Smith also taught youth classes at the church, which has a few hundred members. “He’s a good man with a problem,” Copeland said.

Smith was placed on leave from the church and will not be allowed on campus, according to an announcement on the church’s Facebook page.

Man of God Rapes His Three Daughters

According to one passage in the Talmud, masturbation is such a severe and unpardonable sin that

…in the case of a man, the hand that reaches below the navel should be chopped off.

So that got me wondering which body part, per the Talmud, ought to be amputated in the case of a rabbi who rapes underage girls. This guy even stands accused of raping his own daughters. Any suggestions?


A prominent Israeli rabbi has been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting his three teenage daughters. … The rabbi, who has not yet been publicly named, is reportedly being charged with multiple accounts of sexual assault and invasion of privacy, Israel’s Ynet news website reported on Wednesday.

He was arrested 10 days ago but has been remanded in custody for an additional two days. An indictment filed with the al-Quds (Jerusalem) District Court said the suspect began molesting the victims, ages 12-14, more than 10 years ago. The document said the rabbi sexually abused one of the elder daughters for two years, despite her pleas.

[image via Press TV]

Maybe I Should Stay Off Facebook Today

The oppression of anti-gay religious people is beginning to take a toll on me. I mean, just look at the soul-killing discrimination that Christians have to put up with if they openly disapprove of America’s despicable queering ways.


What’s this country coming to if you can’t even compare faggots to devils and Nazis without being called a homophobe? </sarcasm>

Raunchy Rabbi

Another one.

A Teaneck NJ rabbi appeared in state Superior Court last week for a hearing in advance of his upcoming trial on charges of child endangerment, aggravated sexual contact and criminal sexual assault.

Rabbi Uzi Rivlin, 65, is accused a molesting two 13-year-old Israeli boys in his home in 2009 and 2010. According to Bergen County prosecutors, the victims had been staying in Rivlin’s house during two summers as part of a scholarship fund run by the rabbi. Upon returning to Israel, the alleged victims made the accusations separately to Israeli authorities.

Rivlin maintains his innocence. The court denied his request for dismissal of the charges.

Well Played, Sir. Well Played.

Burn! Via imgur.

well played