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Apr 25 2012

Another Barbaric ‘Exorcism’, This Time in Sweden

Saudi Arabia and Nigeria are not the only countries where people apparently resort to barbarism in response to alleged witches. The parents of a 14 year old girl in Sweden have been arrested and charged for beating and burning their daughter because they thought she was a witch.

The father and step-mother of a 14-year-old girl from western Sweden were charged on Friday with repeatedly beating and burning the girl because they “thought she was a witch”, according to the prosecutor.

“According to the girl’s version of events she has been subjected to being locked up, has had her feet tied together, assault through being burned with a red-hot knife in a torture-like manner and other violent rites and exorcisms,” prosecutor Daniel Larsson wrote in a statement.

Along with the parents, a pastor from a small religious community in Malmö has been charged.

“There is a pastor in Malmö who is under suspicion but is currently abroad,” Larson wrote.

According to local paper Borås Tidning (BT), suspicions first surfaced in 2004 when an anonymous report to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) claimed all was not right, but the agency opted not to pursue the matter at the time.

Six years later, in 2010, the agency received new reports that the child was being abused, as well as information indicating that her father had taken her to Skåne to force the evil demons out of her.

Remember this next time someone tells you that irrationality has no consequences.

16 comments

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  1. 1
    Doug Little

    Of course the difference here is that the parents were arrested and charged, which is what should happen in these situations, so bravo Sweden.

  2. 2
    michaelgaribaldi

    These parents are going to get so much counseling; man, that’s going to be some hard motherfucking time they going to be doing!

  3. 3
    Michael Heath

    Consider the reality that most developed countries have laws protecting the rights of the child in cases like this. But also consider the reality that’s there far more children being mentally abused by the same type of thinking where the state can not intervene to protect the rights of the child; where even liberal secularists can get uncomfortable with the level of intrusion necessary to defend those children abused by their parents and other adjacent authority figures. I point this out because as atrocious as this crime is, there’s far more kids also being damaged for life in a manner where the state protects their parents’ rights to do so.

  4. 4
    matty1

    Michael Heath,

    Assuming that you are not advocating “the level of intrusion necessary” to prevent children being mentally harmed by being taught such views do you have a solution in mind?

  5. 5
    busterggi

    Religion really is the universal poison.

  6. 6
    Marcus Ranum

    “There is a pastor in Malmö who is under suspicion but is currently abroad,”

    …coincidentally.

  7. 7
    Michael Heath

    matty1 writes:

    Assuming that you are not advocating “the level of intrusion necessary” to prevent children being mentally harmed by being taught such views do you have a solution in mind?

    Far tougher curriculum standards, including ongoing classes which teach critical thinking as a stand-alone topic. Far tougher public school testing mandates which guarantees children are being taught the truth about reality where all they get now are lies from their parents and their church. Social pressure to ostracize liars and others who make claims they can’t validate due to a lack of evidence and/or is a failure in logic – I spend some effort on this aspect in my inter-personal relationships. Pressure on media outlets to report critical premises to stories which reveal inconvenient truths.

    Educative efforts on civil government; most people and the media continually fail to realize that the infringement of rights on a person by the government, e.g., parents, is frequently only one competing set of rights, e.g., children who suffer from their rights not being protected due to the defense of another’s rights. Better mandated psychological support resources in the public schools and independent support for kids going to private schools. [All the educative improvements paid for by consolidating schools and if needed, increasing taxes.]

    Essentially criteria which guarantees children are exposed to the truth through via formal K-12, have developed the necessary skills to distinguish facts from bullshit, and education coupled to guidance resources outside the faith community which abuses them. My guidance counselor in high school was so unqualified they could make movies about him, which would require the viewer to suspend belief anyone could be that lazy, dumb, and bad. E.g., as a junior I convinced him to let me chaperone an overnight road trip to the U. of MI by me and some other UM recruits from my high school. Drinking, gambling, and skirt chasing ensued – not just by my classmates, but other schools who attended as well since we had the wing of a dorm all to ourselves.

  8. 8
    Doug Little

    Drinking, gambling, and skirt chasing ensued

    Ahhhhh the good old days.

  9. 9
    plutosdad

    The police were first contacted in 2004. It took 6 years before they started taking it seriously. I wonder if that is normal, and how many other children are being abused.

    I was trying to think of where I heard of Malmo before, and realized it was in the right wing blogosphere a few years ago due to the large African and Middle Eastern population. They were all afraid for some reason. (I guess it’s like Dearborn).

    According to this article ANOTHER religious child abuse case has come up from the same community:
    http://www.thelocal.se/40250/20120413/

  10. 10
    tuxedocartman

    Apparently they’ve been released, because the courts did not feel there was sufficient evidence to prosecute, and there was some discrepancy in her testimony.

  11. 11
    inflection

    Malmö is apparently something of a center for religious extremism these days: I just recently read an article in The Tablet ( http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/96146/swedens-damn-jew-problem/ ) on rising anti-Semitism there, probably related to a high concentration of refugees and asylum grantees from North Africa and the Middle East.

    The particular pastor referred to in these studies isn’t an immigrant, unless an immigrant adopted the Swedish name Gun Hartikainen, but it certainly seems like another facet of a growing problem in the south and west of Sweden.

  12. 12
    leni

    The particular pastor referred to in these studies isn’t an immigrant…

    Sounds like he just preys on them instead.

  13. 13
    reddiaperbaby1942

    Leni, “Gun” is actually a woman’s name in Swedish (nothing to do with the English word). So Gun Hartikainen is a woman. I don’t know if this makes it worse!
    Actually her last name is Finnish, so she may be an immigrant from a neighboring country. There are a lot of Finnish immigrants in Sweden, mostly second and third generation.

  14. 14
    matty1

    There are a lot of Finnish immigrants in Sweden, mostly second and third generation.

    OT but how many generations do immigrants remain immigrants? The idea of a third generation immigrant who was born in the same place as their parents sounds strange to me.

  15. 15
    Irreverend Bastard

    This article (in Swedish) has more details, and a list of names.

    http://vgnt.se/flicka-kan-ha-utsatts-for-voodoo-riter/

    The parents are from Congo, a place where witch-hunting is apparently the national sport.

  16. 16
    leni

    Leni, “Gun” is actually a woman’s name in Swedish (nothing to do with the English word). So Gun Hartikainen is a woman. I don’t know if this makes it worse!

    Interesting, although I didn’t assume it entirely from the name. I just assumed fundamentalist preacher/church leader would be a man, but I guess that’s just my inner American talking ;)

    But it’s not really worse. Evil is evil.

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