Muslim Preacher In U.K. Child-Sex Ring

A child-sex ring in the greater Manchester area whose members raped young teenage girls for two decades is no more, with most of its regular participants now behind bars.

Nine Asian men were yesterday jailed for a total of 77 years for raping and abusing up to 47 girls — some as young as 13 — after plying them with alcohol and luring them to takeaways. …The [court] heard that the men — who are all from Pakistan, apart from one who is from Afghanistan — groomed and ‘shared’ the young white girls because they [the girls] were vulnerable.

One of those convicted is Islamic preacher Abdul Rauf.

To protesters who thought that the charges betrayed racism against the U.K.’s Asian population, Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood of Greater Manchester Police said:

“It is not a racial issue. This is about adults preying on vulnerable young children. It just happens that in this particular area and time the demographics were that these were Asian men.”

However, the gang’s ringleader yesterday branded the judge a “racist bastard” after he and eight other men were jailed. The extraordinary outburst came after Judge Gerald Clinton accused the gang of targeting white girls because they were not part of their “community or religion.”

convicted sex-ring leader Shabir Ahmed

convicted ringleader Shabir Ahmed

With experts on paedophilia insisting street grooming by Muslim men was a real problem, the judge made it clear he believed religion was a factor. Police have played down the racial backgrounds of the men, saying the girls — mostly from broken or ‘chaotic’ homes — were targeted because they were vulnerable, not because they were white.


Note: Moral Compass launched in February of this year. Roughly 90 percent of our posts are tied to current news events, but we occasionally feature media reports from 2012 or earlier. The sex-ring story, above, is from May of last year.

But here’s a report from just yesterday, similar in many ways:

Three men who abducted a vulnerable 13-year-old girl from the streets of London and forced her to become their sex slave have been jailed. The girl, who was described as being from a broken and troubled family, was subjected to sexual abuse over four days after being persuaded to travel with the men to Ipswich in Suffolk in July last year.

Mohammed Sheikh, Hamza Ali, Suran Uddin

Mohammed Sheikh, Hamza Ali, Suran Uddin

The men plied her with drugs and alcohol to keep her subdued.

Mohammed Sheikh, Hamza Ali and Suran Uddin were all convicted of trafficking and sex offences following a trial. Uddin was jailed for 15 years, Sheikh will serve eight years and Ali five years. All three were placed on the sex offenders register and Sheikh and Ali could face deportation to Somalia, their home country.

[Images via the Daily Mail]

Pastor Blew Members’ Cash on Jewelry, Cruise

Another paragon of virtue:

An associate pastor of a Fort Smith [Arkansas] church has agreed to pay back money that he received from a church member to invest but allegedly pocketed and used for himself.

At a hearing Wednesday in Pulaski County Circuit Court, an attorney for Thomas James of Fayetteville, associate pastor at St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Smith, said James will pay $66,500 to church member Renee Lee.


The Arkansas Securities Department accused James of taking money from Lee to invest in securities but instead depositing it into an account that he drew on for shopping sprees for jewelry, clothes and electronics and trips to various cities across the country, as well as an ocean cruise. [emphasis added]

The Securities Department also said in the complaint that James presented himself as a certified financial planner, certified investment management analyst and chartered retirement planning counselor, although no evidence could be found that he holds any of those designations.

James is thought to have taken other congregants’ money in similar fashion, and may yet face criminal charges.

This sort of fraud by clergy members is not uncommon. For previous cases covered on Moral Compass, see

Snake Oil Charmers, and
Pastor Crime Ring Involved in Petro Stock Fraud.

Jerkwad Pastor Jack Schaap Simulates Jerking Off; A Megachurch With a History of Scandals

I just found this video via Hemant Mehta. It’s footage from a Jack Schaap sermon called (I kid you not) “Polishing the Shaft.”

And if you think that title sounds kinky, wait’ll you see the reverend Schaap’s performance.

Would you let your children near this man?

Many did. Indiana-based Jack Schaap, 54, got some lovin’ on this blog last month, when it emerged that he’d sent hundreds of horny text messages to a 16-year-old girl who’d been referred to him for counseling. He eventually had sex with her many times, after telling the girl that that’s what Jesus wanted.

Keep in mind that Schaap — now behind bars for a dozen years — didn’t just lead some tiny backwater congregation. First Baptist, barely half an hour outside of Chicago, was called a “superchurch” in Time magazine decades ago, and can still draw upwards of 20,000 worshipers on a good Sunday. It is the 14th-largest megachurch in the country, and the biggest Independent Baptist house of worship you’ll find anywhere in North America.

Can you think of a simpler and truer indictment of organized religion than the fact that pastor Schaap’s flock remained not just obediently pliant, but in awe of him, while Schaap polished the shaft in front of thousands of children?

It’s worse than you think. The pattern’s been there for dozens of years, going back to Jack Hyles, Schaap’s father-in-law and predecessor. Read the astonishing exposé about First Baptist in the January 2013 issue of Chicago Magazine.

If you’re pressed for time, read just page four of that article. It’s a sickening compendium of sexual nastiness and violence associated with First Baptist: from adultery and physical abuse to child rape, from stalking and alleged torture to baby murder (yes, really).

These are the people who represent God?

On Anti-Religious Prejudice

From The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide to Knife Fighting.

Lecherous Pastor: ‘Here Kid, I Bought You a Dildo’

In Yuma, Arizona,

A youth pastor has pleaded guilty to a sex offense in connection to buying sex toys for a teenage girl. Robert Eric Warren, a former youth pastor, faces a maximum sentence of up to one year in prison plus three years probation.

The youth pastor is accused of buying sex toys for a 14-year old girl and taking them to her house when her parents weren’t at home. It’s unknown if the items he purchased were religiously inspired.

Warren is no longer with his erstwhile employer, Valley Baptist Church, and will not be allowed to be a youth minister again.


It’s possibly the best pastor-related sex-toy story we’ve come across since an Alabama preacher died with a dildo up his ass.

But we also really appreciated the one about the reverend from North Carolina who broke into a woman’s home and committed Grand Theft Dildo.

You’re welcome.

[image via Wikipedia]

Sect in Chile Burns ‘Antichrist’ Infant to Death

A three-day-old Chilean baby girl was thrown onto an open fire and burned to death in a religious ritual after a cult leader decided she was the antichrist — and that the end of the world was near.

Four people are under arrest. The baby’s mother, 25-year-old Natalia Guerra, is thought to have approved the sacrifice.

A police detective explained that

“They strapped tape around [the infant’s] mouth to keep her from screaming. Then they placed her on a board. After calling on the spirits they threw her on the bonfire alive.”

Authorities said the 12-member sect was formed in 2005 and was led by Ramon Gustavo Castillo Gaete [photo], 36, who remains at large.

Ben Affleck doppelganger Ramon Gaete

Ben Affleck doppelganger Ramon Gaete

At first blush, the sect members didn’t seem like the gullible type.

‘Everyone in this sect was a professional,’ [detective] Ampuero said. ‘We have someone who was a veterinarian and who worked as a flight attendant, we have a filmmaker, a draftsman. Everyone has a university degree.’

Police said Castillo Gaete, the ringleader, was last seen traveling to Peru to buy ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic brew plant that he used to control the members of the rite.

Previous Moral Compass mention of ayahuasca here.

[image via Mail Online]

2 Priests Hacked To Bits, 3rd Priest Suspected

Two Hindu priests were hacked to death Wednesday night, and their body parts partially burned, in Uttar Pradesh, Northern India. A third priest, who’s gone missing, is a prime suspect.

“Unidentified miscreants raided the Balkhandi Devi temple … and after brutally hacking priests Ramcharan and Krishna Das to death, threw their bodies into the huge temple furnace used for cooking ‘bhandara’ food, and set it on fire by sprinkling kerosene oil,” [police superintendent] Rakesh Shanker said. …

Devotees found badly charred body parts strewn near the furnace with blood splattered all over the place at the ground floor of the temple when they reached the Balkhandi Devi temple for prayers at around 8 am on Thursday.

Oops, that's no bloodbath, that a scene from the Holi Festival

That’s no bloodbath, but a scene from the altogether more enjoyable Holi Festival

According to another police source,

“The killings took place while both the priests were sleeping on the roof of the temple. On Wednesday night, while Ramcharan was sleeping near the ‘matt’ of Lord Hanuman and Krishna Das close to the ‘matt’ of another deity, miscreants attacked them with sharp-edged weapons and chopped their body into pieces. They then threw the body parts into the furnace, sprinkled kerosene and set the fire.”

Shanker told the Times of India that

“Village sources have told us that it could be the handiwork of [fellow priest] Baladeen, who is missing since the incident. We are suspecting his involvement in the crime.”

[image via the Atlantic]

13-Year-Old Says Stepdad Pastor Raped Her

Pastor Michael Cornerstone works at the Voice of Jesus Salvation and Prayer Ministry in Ghana. He’ll need all the prayer and salvation he can get if he’s going to beat the rap on this one: The reverend was dragged into court yesterday for raping his 13-year-old stepdaughter.

A prosecutor told the court that the pastor married the victim’s mother in 2010, and alleged that in 2011, while the victim’s mother was in the Republic of Togo on a business trip, the preacher

lured the victim into a room one afternoon and defiled her. … After the act, pastor Cornerstone warned the victim not to reveal her ordeal to anyone or else she would die.


Then, in February of this year, while his wife was fast asleep, the clergyman snuck over to the room where the 13-year-old was, and had his way with her again.

Two weeks later, the girl complained of stomach pain and discomfort. She admitted to her mother that she’d been raped but initially refused to disclose by whom, saying she might die if she did.

Her stepfather fled the house when his wife announced she had something important to discuss with him, and wasn’t seen again until he was apprehended in another town two weeks later.

Pastor Cornerstone maintains his innocence.

[image via Telling Secrets

A New Ending for ‘My Brother the Islamist’

A few years ago, British filmmaker Robb Leech began delving into the reasons why his white middle-class stepbrother Rich had converted to radical Islam.

Rich Dart, who’d started calling himself Salahuddin al-Britani, associated with fundamentalists such as the outspoken terrorism promoter Anjem Choudary, and advocated that Britain should place itself under Sharia law.

Over twelve months, Robb filmed his stepbrother’s new life, and turned the footage into the hourlong 2011 BBC documentary My Brother the Islamist. It’s available in its entirety on YouTube. I’ve embedded it below for your headscratching pleasure.

Just be aware that as of today, it needs both a new ending and a new title. 30-year-old Salahuddin al-Britani, formerly Richard Dart, was convicted on terrorism charges this afternoon, along with two accomplices. Dart had travelled to Pakistan to try to undergo terrorist training; also, with his co-conspirators, Imran Mahmood and Jahangir Alom, he plotted a bomb attack on Royal Wootton Bassett, a town that plays a central role in the repatriations of British soldiers killed in combat.

Dart/al-Britani pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years behind bars.

The film about him should now probably be renamed My Brother the Terrorist.

The Guardian‘s account of today’s trial is here.

High Tea: UDV Church Uses Hallucinogen As Sacrament; ‘Returning to the Cosmic Uterus’

Via NPR:

A small church in Santa Fe, N.M., has grown up around a unique sacrament. Twice a month, the congregation meets in a ritualized setting to drink Brazilian huasca tea [also called ayahuasca], which has psychoactive properties said to produce a trance-like state.

UDV, founded in 1961 by a Brazilian rubber tapper now revered by followers as Mestre Gabriel [photo], stands for Uniao do Vegetal, which means “the union of the plants.” Huasca tea contains DMT, considered a Schedule 1 drug (in this case, a powerful and illegal hallucinogen) by the U.S. drug-warrior establishment.

Anthropologists who’ve trekked to the Amazon to try the “vine of the soul,” as it’s called, have described the intense experience it produces as death, returning to the cosmic uterus and rebirth.

UDV founder Mestre Gabriel

UDV members are pretty gung-ho on the brew.

Barbara, an electrologist, says the tea cured her Lyme disease; Satara, a substitute teacher, claims huasca amplifies perception of herself and the world — like turning up the volume on a radio. Joaquin, a tattooed massage therapist, says the tea is much more spiritual than tripping on acid; and Pete, a martial arts teacher, says he’s here to be part of a community of people all trying to get closer to God.

Jeffrey Bronfman, national UDV vice president, swears people drink huasca for spiritual reasons. Despite the bitter taste — some congregants head for the bathrooms to vomit right after taking the sacrament — he sees the substance as a pathway to something good, a higher consciousness.

“The tea is really an instrument to help us get in touch with our own spiritual nature. It’s not something that takes people into a state of disorientation.”

He and his congregation have had to spend years in litigation with the federal government, right on up to the Supreme Court, to gain the right to drink huasca. The Supremes decided in 2006 that if Native Americans have the right to eat peyote, UDV members must be allowed to partake of their tea.

Wanna join? The church isn’t looking for new members, Bronfman says, so you may have to get high spiritual someplace else. Like Peru.

More than 40 ayahuasca lodges in Peru advertise on the Internet with pitches like, “Your vibrations will begin to harmonize with the flow of nature! Click here for rates.”

But beware bad trips — and bad characters:

Some of the experiences turn out badly. Articles have described a few spiritual seekers who’ve died or gone berserk during rituals, and women who’ve been molested by unscrupulous shamans.

[photo via VCU]


P.S.: To clarify, I don’t see the use of huasca tea, or other sacramental drugs, as a moral failure or a crime on the part of the church. At all. More power to the UDV members — and may I just add, “good for you.”

I do find it odious and annoying that the federal government has strictly verboten any drug that contains DMT  — unless you belong to a certain faith.

Religion excuses everything.

I’m not blaming the church; I’m blaming the double standards of America’s policy makers and judicial authorities.

Orthodox Bishop Goes Down in Lurid Sex Scandal

Powerful Serbian bishop Vasilije Kačavenda organized orgies at which he and others raped underage boys and girls.

That’s among the sensational allegations that have been leveled against the holy man in recent months, culminating in Kačavenda’s tendering his resignation the other day, and the Orthodox Church accepting it.


One news report speaks of “a crush of lurid accusations that seem better suited to Caligula’s court than an Orthodox diocese.”

A key witness is Bojan Jovanovic, a former theological student, who claims he saw numerous orgies that had been organized or backed by the now-74-year-old bishop; and that Kačavenda personally asked him to supply young children for the sex parties. The lustful participants allegedly included other Christian-Orthodox clerics as well as prominent Serbian businessmen.

“They tried on many occasions to put me in a compromising situation myself or to pull me into their circle,” Jovanovic says. “[The bishop] also suggested that I should use the school where I was teaching science to bring him children up to the age of 10, but of course I refused.”

Three years ago, rumors started swirling around a photograph that showed the bishop in his extravagantly-gilded home with male stripper Dejan Nestorovic, who admitted to having a personal relationship with Kačavenda. Nice touch: In one snap, the two were posing next to what appears to be a Christmas tree.

After a Serbian newspaper recently obtained a grainy video purportedly showing Kačavenda in flagrante delicto with young men in various locations (you can look for snippets online if you’re so inclined), the walls came tumbling down.

Dusko Tomić, a lawyer in Bijeljina, says he has collected statements and other evidence from numerous sex-abuse victims claiming to have been molested by the bishop.

Among the people trying to get their story out are relatives of Milić Blažanović, a theology student who reportedly rebuffed advances from Kačavenda. Blažanović later died under mystifying circumstances in a remote monastery — when a bomb exploded in his room. It would be an odd way to commit suicide, especially for a usually cheerful young man with no known history of depression, but that’s the conclusion investigators reached — that Blažanović killed himself. The official finding didn’t stop unsubstantiated rumors that the bishop had had a hand in his death.

Other people, too, have recently slung accusations against Kačavenda, including a Bosnian Muslim girl who said the bishop had forced her to convert to Christianity and then raped her when she was 16.

Kačavenda napušta svoj tron | Društvo |

Tomić, himself a follower of the Church, is incredulous over what he’s learned, and predicts that other careers will sustain damage in the sex-scandal fallout.

“When I read all the information and all the reports from different people that he abused, from people to whom he did much harm, I’m shocked as an Orthodox believer and as a human being that this kind of person is still present in public life. Kačavenda became a politician. And let’s not forget that he is a general of the Serbian Army. Let’s not forget that he’s a close friend of [Serb Republic President Milorad] Dodik and a lot of influential businessmen and entrepreneurs. All of them are in big trouble now.”

Kačavenda’s friendly relations with people in high places go back decades. He was said to be close to Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić, later accused of genocidal war crimes (each man is sometimes referred to as the “Butcher of Bosnia”).

Kačavenda denies all charges of sexual abuse and other crimes. On Monday, he threatened to sue those who had “smeared and slandered him.”

The Church, in accepting his resignation, never mentioned the scandals, stating instead that the bishop was stepping down for health reasons.

That’s not to say that Church leaders aren’t vigilant about fighting immorality. Serbian Patriarch Iriniej recently has been vocal in his opposition to a planned gay-pride march in Belgrade, saying that such an event would cast a “moral shadow” over the country.

[top image via zokstersomething; bottom image via Novosti]

Hamas TV: Cute Kids Sing of Blowing Selves Up For Allah; Serenade ‘Explosive Device of Glory’

Everybody sing! Don’t know the words? They’re easy:

“Jihad bestows pride and glory upon you when you become a martyrdom-seeker.
Oh explosive device of glory – with her blood she created freedom.
Ask [suicide bomber] Fatima Al-Najjar how one should live a life of pride.”

For an extra dose of WTF, wait for the guy in the chicken costume.

[hat tip: Middle East Media Research Institute]