Witch Hunt Podcast
Episode 10: It’s Still Happening – Show Notes
Unfortunately, there are still many places in the world where innocent men, women, and children are accused of being witches and who pay with their lives in events that are eerily reminiscent of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. Below are resources that were used to research this episode as well as links to learn more about how you can support human rights organizations working to protect people from witch hunts today.
Newspapers internationally reported a recent spate of witchcraft-related murders in rural Papua New Guinea. The media interest began with a case in which a young woman was stripped naked, bound and gagged, tied to a log, and set on fire by a band of villagers. She burned to death in the blaze.
For decades, Ghanaian women have been banished to live in segregated camps on suspicion of witchcraft. The Gambaga witch camp is one of the most famous in northern Ghana.
A notorious “witch finder” who has been prevented by the Home Office from entering Britain is attempting to silence her critics with the threat of a £500 million lawsuit, it has emerged. Helen Ukpabio, a born-again Christian preacher from Nigeria who heads up the controversial Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries, is known for “deliverance sessions” to free children and adults from being possessed.
Under Wahhabi doctrine, magic is seen as a serious affront to the pure and exclusive relationship one is supposed to share with Allah. But belief in the supernatural and magic is actually quite common in Muslim culture. According to the Quran, the jinn are demonic supernatural beings that were created out of fire at the same time as man.
The modern practice of witch hunting in India includes violence and beliefs that have led to the torture and murder of alleged witches. State governments and rationalist groups are trying to address the problem but face big obstacles. When Americans think of burning witches, they often consider it a metaphor or historical event from hundreds of years ago.
Skeptical activist Leo Igwe explains the developments that led to the situation in Africa where “witches” are still regularly persecuted and even murdered. By Leo Igwe The first major witchcraft persecution in Scotland in late 16th century when the ship of King James VI ran into some terrible storms on its way from Denmark.
Human Rights Organizations Working Against Modern Witch Hunts:
Safe Child Africa
India, the world’s largest democracy, has a strong civil society, vigorous media, and an independent judiciary, but also serious human rights concerns. Civil society groups face harassment and government critics face intimidation and lawsuits. Free speech has come under attack both from the state and by interest groups.
Despite an economic boom led by extractive industries such as mining, an estimated 40 percent of the country lives in poverty. The government has not taken sufficient steps to stop violence, corruption, or excessive use of force by police.
Saudi authorities in 2017 continued to arbitrarily arrest, try, and convict peaceful dissidents. Dozens of human rights defenders and activists are serving long prison sentences for criticizing authorities or advocating political and rights reforms. Authorities systematically discriminate against women and religious minorities. In 2016, Saudi Arabia carried out 154 executions, 23 for non-violent drug crimes.
ActionAid is a leading international charity. We support women and children in extreme poverty. We fight for their rights and for lasting change.
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