Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Roundup of recent international "Satanism" scare news

Searching Google news for stories about "Satanism," I find the following:

  • Crimes against Religious Leaders in Russia Likely to Trigger Witch Hunt by Paul Goble, Georgian Daily, May 27, 2009, about the concern that recent violence against mainstream religious leaders may trigger witchhunts against people of nonmainstream religions.

  • A bunch of stories from two days ago (May 25, 2009) about the arrest of 104 alleged "Devil worshippers" in Iran. Here's the Reutors story, containing the most detailed account I've found so far. The New York Times carried an abbreviated version. AFP carried the story today (May 27), as did Sky News. As we will see in the next batch of stories, below, there is reason to doubt the claim that the people arrested are in fact "Satan worshippers."

  • Some stories about prohibitions on heavy metal music concerts in the Middle East. There is currently such a ban in Jordan, according to the Global Post story Rock and a hard place by Tom A. Peter, May 25, 2009. On the other hand, the ban has been lifted in Morocco, according to the Global Voices story Morocco: When Arabs Rock by Hisham, May 24th, 2009, and The National (UAE) article Morocco’s metalheads make return by John Thorne, May 6, 2009. In both cases, heavy metal is/was banned because of rumors about "Satanist" and other un-Islamic content.

  • Some tales of dubious allegations of "Satanism" in South Africa: (1) South Africa: Drugs and Satanism Surrounds Child's Death Lavern De Vries,, April 22, 2009, about a legal wrangle between the dead child's natural mother and foster parents, and (2) Satanist takes blame for deaths, News 24, May 13, 2009, about the "confession" of an obviously mentally ill 15-year-old girl. Hopefully it will be obvious to most people that the allegations here are unlikely to be true. South Africa has been going through quite a Satanic panic lately, according to various news stories linked in the blog entry Satanic Panic in South Africa, posted on September 29, 2008 by Richard Bartholomew.