Deadly exorcisms and sacrifices: Real or rumor?
A confidential report from London's Metropolitan Police leaked to BBC Radio 4's Today program (audio) claims children are being trafficked into Britain as religious sacrifices.

"[P]eople who are desperate will seek out witchcraft experts to cast spells for them," says the report, a product of a ten-month investigation. "For a spell to be powerful it required a sacrifice involving a male child unblemished by circumcision. … Boy children are being trafficked into the UK for this purpose. … Specific details were not forthcoming as the belief was that they would be 'dead meat' if we tell you any more."

The report also alleges that children are being trafficked into the country for sexual purposes, particularly catering to African men who believe that sex with a child will cure them of HIV or AIDS.

The report was particularly critical of immigrants' attitudes toward demonic possession—no surprise since British headlines have recently focused on the torture of an 8-year-old girl her family had called a witch. In 2000, another 8-year-old, Victoria Climbie, died after violent and cruel exorcism rituals.

Preachers have created a "lucrative business" in exorcism, the report says. "A number of pastors maintain that God speaks to them and lets them know when someone is possessed … They would not accept that they played a major role in inciting such violence."

Perdeep Gill, one of the authors of the report, told The Times of London that pastors declare problems "from bedwetting to rebellion" as evidence of possession. "Most said the best solution was prayer and fasting. But they know the implications for the child. The way of dealing with it in Africa is through beating — ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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