In New York, Man From Ivory Coast Allegedly Sodomized His Wife, Then Cut Her Genitals

A bizarre and disturbing story, via Opposing Views:

Moussa Diarra, 48, an African native, wanted to have anal intercourse with his 24-year-old wife. When she refused, he forcibly sodomized her before attempting to circumcise the woman around 9 p.m. Sept. 14 at his Manhattan apartment, the New York Post reports.

The victim called police about a week after the assault. Diarra, who is a native of the Ivory Coast, where male and female circumcision is widespread, was arrested on Sept. 23, according to court records.

There are African countries, such as Nigeria, whose Christian populations engage in female genital mutilation (FGM) on a scale equal to or greater than Muslims perform FGM in their families and communities. That’s not the case in Ivory Coast, where, a U.S. State Department report says,

The practice is prevalent among Muslim women, and is also deeply rooted in traditional Animist initiation rites in western, central and northern Cote d’Ivoire.

The practice on village women is strongly linked to the survival of local secret societies and mask-cults at the heart of village spiritual life. The clitoris is thought to possess power and its removal during initiation gives that power to the village spirits and traditional spiritual leaders or masks, without which the spirits/masks and the entire village would die.

Attempts to eradicate the practice, or even to transform it from a physical to a symbolic act, are perceived as threatening to “assassinate the people” of the village.

More about what exactly took place in the Diarra household, and why, should come out at trial. The suspect is scheduled to appear in court on October 27. He faces charges of forcible sex act, aggravated sexual assault by compulsion, attempted assault with intent to disfigure or dismember, and assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon.

He maintains that the allegations are false, and says he doesn’t know who cut his wife.

Iceland Halts Road Project to Protect Elves

Icelandic authorities have decided to halt a highway project out of concern that the new road will displace the local elf population.

Says the Independent:

Elf advocates have joined forces with environmentalists to urge the Icelandic Road and Coastal Commission and local authorities to abandon a highway project because it might disturb the creatures’ habitat.

The activists are particularly concerned about an elf church that sits on the potential site. … [T]he project has been halted until the Supreme Court of Iceland rules on a case brought by a group known as Friends of Lava.

The activists cite a cultural and environmental impact – including the plight of the elves – as a reason for regularly gathering hundreds of people to block workers from bulldozing the area.

I have to believe that the whole thing is a wind-up, a national running joke, a tongue-in-cheek folkloristic game played on outsiders.

Or not. When asked in a 2007 survey, 62 percent of Icelanders said they thought it was at least possible that the so-called Huldufólk (“hidden folk”) are real.

The best little Huldufólk nugget I found is this one, on Wikipedia:

Icelandic gardens often feature tiny wooden álfhól (elf houses) for elves/hidden people to live in. Some Icelanders have also built tiny churches to convert elves to Christianity.

Gnome more of this folly! In the interest of spreading rationality among the Icelandic elf community, I propose we finance itty-bitty libraries and stock them with teensy copies of Dawkins’ and Harris’s books. Who’s with me?

The Sex Lives of So-Called Godmen

There’s an interesting piece at Open The Magazine about so-called godmen (call them gurus or mystics if you want) who take sexual advantage of their disciples.

One example:

According to a 27-year-old girl, a software engineer based in Bangalore, she was made to perform rudrabhishek on a guru in Pune who she had trusted. This ritual required her to pour milk and honey on his penis and fellate him.



Her family members heard her cry out, but did not intervene because they assumed it was part of an occult ritual. The tantric had promised the family a change in their fortunes if they let him perform this hours-long exercise in isolation except for the company of a ‘pure soul’, which he convinced them resides in the bodies of adolescent virgin girls. The family volunteered their own 15-year-old daughter. The tantric left with assurances of a turn in the family’s luck. The girl was too dazed to say anything. Later, when she told them what had happened, the family refused to believe her.

Exorcist Buries Himself in Ritual, Accidentally Suffocates to Death

There’s no cure for this kind of crazy.

A Sri Lankan man died Thursday after a bizarre and botched ritual to drive out what he thought were evil spirits from a house outside the capital, police said. The man sacrificed a cat and was then buried in a shallow grave after instructing onlookers to dig him out once he gave a signal of pushing a sword he was carrying through the ground, police said. “Even after three hours, there was no sign of the sword coming up from the grave,” a local police official told AFP.

“That is when the onlookers decided to pull him out anyway, but he was unconscious,” the unnamed official said.

Spongebob buries Himself Alive

The 32-year-old man, identified by police as Maxi Castro, a local exorcist, was taken to hospital early Thursday morning but he had already died, the official said.

Pity. At least his survivors had a fresh grave all ready to go.

The man had been requested to drive out demons feared residing in the home of a school teacher at the village of Pelanwatte. “I saw him perform a ritual like this at a temple six months ago and invited him to check my property,” the teacher, Wasantha Bandara, told local radio station Shree FM. “He said I had bad luck because someone had sprinkled human ash at my house, but he could drive out evil spirits through this ritual.”

I do feel sorry for the cat.

Another fatal self-burial here: the victim-and-pepetrator thought it would bring “good luck.”

‘Stop Mocking Our Faith,’ Says Reader Who Believes in the Man in the Moon

I received an irate request today from a man who believes that the geography of the moon is proof that Gohar Shahi is Islam’s messiah. “Stop making a mockery out of people’s faith,” he demanded.


Good point. I’ll make that gentleman — and all people of faith — a deal: I’ll stop mocking you if you stop beclowning yourselves by spouting such deliciously mockable poppycock.

Meet Gohar Shahi, the Holy Man in the Moon

Wikipedia says that in Islam, the Mahdi (Guided One) is the Messiah,

…the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will rule for seven, nine or nineteen years … before the Day of Judgment … and will rid the world of evil.

Well, he was here, and you missed him. (I guess it’s true that, in the words of Joni Mitchell, “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.”) Meet Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi, a Pakistani mystic also known as Sultan ul Salateen ul Fuqra Imam Mehdi. He met Jesus in 1997, then disappeared in 2001 (some say he’s serving a life sentence in a British jail).

How do we know Shahi is the Messiah?

Because he is literally the man in the moon, his followers say. See for yourself:


Almost as much fun as detecting Jesus in a smear of bird shit!

Reverend and Psychic Ordered to Pay Million$ for ‘Mass Grave’ Allegations Against Innocent Couple

This hasn’t been a good year for psychics, and I’m glad.

First, we witnessed the high-profile flameout of Sylvia Browne, the bee-otch spiritist who inflicted unimaginable misery on the mother of missing young woman Amanda Berry, on national TV no less, by insisting that Amanda was dead. We know now that Browne couldn’t have been more wrong.

At the Psychic Hotline

Now one of Browne’s acolytes, flim-flam artist Presley “Rhonda” Gridley, has been ordered to pay 6.8 million dollars after she pulled this:

…created a national frenzy by telling authorities that a Liberty County couple, Joe Bankston and Gena Charlton, had a mass grave on their property. She has been ordered to pay the couple $6.8 million. …

Gridley goes by the name “Angel” and called the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and falsely claimed that 25 to 30 dismembered bodies were buried in a mass grave at the plaintiffs’ residence.

The cops, unbelievably enough, then alerted the media, who dutifully descended on the Charltons’ street to report on the large-scale police search taking place at the house, complete with cadaver dogs and helicopters. All on the basis of Gridley’s “vision.” No bodies were found.

It turns out that Gridley also called a police station two hundred miles away, telling a dispatcher that she is a “reverend and a psychic” and that they would find the bones of dozens of missing children in the walls and “stuff written all over the walls in blood.”

Gridley’s false claim against the Charltons has ruined her financially; she is bound to die in poverty. Despite her psychic abilities, I guess she didn’t see that coming.

[cartoon by Dan Piraro, via source]

Little Miss Sunshine: Follower of Breatharianism is Prepared to Die By Living on Sunlight Only

A Seattle woman has pledged to prove her religion is real by starving herself on camera.

Naveena Shine is a practitioner of Breatharianism, an obscure Eastern faith that holds that people can survive on nothing but sunlight and spiritual energy. Shine has started an experiment that aims to

…bring into our Universe a whole different paradigm of living. In this paradigm of living, human beings do not have to eat or ingest any kind of food into their stomachs in order to thrive in this world.

The movement’s guru, yogi Prahlad Jani (pictured), claims he hasn’t ingested any food in 70 years. Sunlight, he says, is all he needs.


Four known deaths have occurred by Breatharians following in his footsteps.

According to Freethinker News,

Shine is attempting to document her six-month sunshine-only diet by surrounding herself with video cameras also used to ensure that she does not cheat. She claims that the reason others have died is that they simply did not believe enough.

Her ‘progress’ is plain to see:


[images via Freethinker News]

Teacher Beheaded for Witchcraft; ‘A Swarm of Fireflies’ Said She’d Caused a Neighbor’s Death

Fireflies. They’re the new breadcrumbs.

A female teacher was publicly tortured and beheaded by a mob of villagers in Papua New Guinea after she was accused of using sorcery against a neighbor, the Associated Press reported Monday.

The villagers — wielding guns, machetes and axes — pulled Helen Rumbali out of her house, along with her sister and two nieces. They then burned down the house, the AP reported.


The assailants accused the 40-something schoolteacher of witchcraft, saying she was responsible for the death of a sick villager. They said a swarm of fire flies led them from the deceased person’s grave to Ms. Rumbali’s house, the AP reported.

After being slashed repeatedly with knives, the woman’s older sister and two teenage nieces were released following negotiations with police. Ms. Rumbali was publicly beheaded.

Villagers in India Hack ‘Witch’ To Death in Attempt to Appease the Hindu Goddess Kali

Kali is not the sweetest of Hindu deities. She’s usually depicted with tongue lolling, a garland of skulls around her neck, 4 to 10 arms flaying and dicing and chopping in a frenzy of perennial creation and destruction.

And depending on how you interpret her wiles, she may demand a little earthly help when it comes to the bit about dicing and chopping.

At least 18 tribal villagers in India’s northeast have been arrested for hacking to death a man they suspected of practising witchcraft, police say. They said they were told to kill the victim by a Hindu goddess who appeared in their dreams.


Mobs have killed at least 200 people over the past five years who they have accused of practising sorcery and witchcraft — mainly in tribal-dominated areas of western and northern Assam state, Indian police say.

The killing took place on Friday at a tea estate village in Assam’s Cachar district, 300 kilometres south of the impoverished state’s main city of Guwahati.

Cachar district police chief Diganta Bora said by telephone that the attack was “barbaric with a group of hysterical villagers sacrificing the man by piercing his neck with sharp weapons and chanting religious hymns”.

The villagers who took part in the killing of the 55-year-old man believed the victim was practising witchcraft and were seeking to “appease the goddess Kali”, the Hindu deity of destruction, Bora said. …

Police in the state have set up a program, called Project Prahari (Vigilance), that involves community policing and holding regular education campaigns among tribal chiefs and village elders.

“Simply enforcing the law and punishing the guilty are inadequate measures. There has to be an attitudinal change,” Saikia said.

That would also be a much-needed initiative in Papua New Guinea, where the fight against witches is ensconced in official law. No kidding. I refer to the

Sorcery Act of 1971, which acknowledges the existence of sorcery and criminalizes both those who practice it and those who attack people accused of sorcery. [source]

That means that boozy mobs in New Guinea’s hinterlands, when someone has a score to settle or a sickness to explain, frequently set upon lone women without male family members to protect them, and accuse them of witchcraft.

Notes Jo Chandler in the Global Mail [thanks to Nicolas Eyle for the link]:

Angela [an accused witch] was naked, staked-out, spread-eagled on a rough frame before them, a blindfold tied over her eyes, a fire burning in a nearby drum. Being unable to see can only have inflated her terror, her sense of powerlessness and the menace around her; breathing the smoke and feeling the heat of the fire where the irons being used to burn her were warmed until they glowed. Would she be cooked, on that fire? She must have known it had happened to others before — and would soon infamously happen again, the pictures finding their way around the world.

The photographs witnesses took of Angela’s torture are shocking, both for the cruelty of the attackers and the torpid body-language of the spectators. Stone-faced men and women and wide-eyed children huddle under umbrellas, sheltering from the drenched highlands air as Angela writhes against the tethers at her wrists and ankles, twisting her body away from the length of hot iron which a young man aims at her genitals.

The story, with good reason, casts a transported Swiss Catholic nun as the hero who helps fight the insanity and cares for the too-few victims who survive the ordeal.

Here at Moral Compass HQ, where we believe actual good works transcend verbal skirmishes between atheists and believers, we doff our cap to Sister Gaudentia Meier, and send her our sincere respect and best wishes for successful interventions.

‘I Killed My Wife — She Cast Spells On Me’

From the New York Post:

A woman’s badly decomposed body was found in her Brooklyn home last night with a cryptic note found near her body that read: “I killed my wife, she was casting spells on me,” sources said.

The corpse was discovered at 10 p.m. in a predominantly Orthodox Jewish area of Midwood, after someone reported a foul smell, according to the law enforcement sources.


The 50-year-old woman had been stabbed multiple times in the stomach.

The body was found in the basement of the two-family house, and appeared to be several weeks old, authorities said

Police took her live-in boyfriend into custody after locating him at a psychiatric facility, where he said that she cast spells on him, sources said. He has not been charged yet.

He may have been committed by a relative.

Neighbors said the couple were observant Jews.

Must-Watch: BBC Film on Present-Day Christians Treating ‘Witches.’ Many Victims Are Children.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” — Voltaire

Previous Moral Compass piece on modern-day witch-killing for fun and profit here.