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An Interview with John Collins on Branhamism and Abuse (Part Two)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 19.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fifteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: March 15, 2019

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 5,120

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

John Collins is an Author, and the Webmaster of Seek The Truth. He discusses: severe forms of abuse in the William Marrion Branham “The Message” community; the different abuse tactics used on men and women to keep them in line; the social control tactics; the lack of critical thinking and critical theology in the “The Message” church of the late William Marrion Branham; and the tragic cases of abuse, and heartwarming ones of those who got out.

Keywords: author, Christianity, faith healing, John Collins, Seek The Truth, The Message, webmaster, William Marrion Branham.

An Interview with John Collins on Branhamism and Abuse (Part Two)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: If we are looking at the severe forms of abuse, what are the main ones within community to keep members in line?

John Collins: This is a difficult question to adequately summarize in one single conversation. The “Message” cult following of William Branham has repeatedly evolved and branched after multiple iterations of core doctrine, creating very different sects in multiple regions of multiple countries around the world, and each sect created from each branch in each region of each country has varying levels of abuse. It would be like asking which forms of abuse have been used in the Catholic Church in the past seventy-five years; even with the recent allegations and convictions of abuse in the Catholic Church, each instance of abuse cannot represent the Catholic community as a whole and the sum of all abuse cannot represent the views of the religion. Yet the abuse exists, and in many cases, the predators are protected and will abuse again.

In the United States, the most extreme example of abuse in the “Message” that has been documented happened at a cult commune in Prescott, Arizona, that William Branham called “Goshen” (Referring to the land given to the Hebrews by the Biblical pharaoh of Joseph).[i] Members of the commune ranging in ages from children to adult were emotionally, physically, and sexually abused as a means to control the group.[ii] Leaders of the commune would ostracize people from the community and separate families. Children were forced to march around the compound military-style and were physically beaten if they fell out of line. Some children were sexually abused by Branham’s close associate Leo Mercer, others burned with fire so they would “know what hell felt like”. Parents were instructed to perform acts of abuse upon children or each other, while leaders of the commune acted as a “witness” to emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. The problem was so widespread that the courts were forced to delicately question cult members in areas of sexual and physical abuse, incest, and homosexuality.

Undeniably, the worst documented cases of abuse happened at Colonia Dignidad in the Maule Region of Chile under the leadership of “Message” pastor Paul Shaefer.[iii] Shaefer preached against “sins of the flesh”, often segregated men and women, and practiced enforced celibacy as religious atonement. Those who did not comply were brutally beaten.[iv] Members of the commune were monitored by armed guard in a military-style compound. After a child escaped and alerted authorities, an investigation led government officials to secret underground chambers where cult members were tortured by electric shock.[v]

When asked about abuse as a means to control, former members of the “Message” have different opinions. Many who experienced abuse have the opinion that their abusers were not aligned with the views of other members of the “Message”, and though abusive to enforce cult doctrine, should be excluded. Others argue that in many cases, leaders of the cult protected and enabled their abusers. Since William Branham himself praised physical abuse[vi], members of the cult often turn a blind eye to predators in positions ranging from leaders[vii] to lay members. Only in the cases where a “Message” cult pastor is exposed after having brainwashed and raped women of the church[viii] under the guise of “spiritual husbandry”[ix] is the abuse as a means to control beyond question.

At the same time, many former members overlook the more obvious forms of abuse. Having spent years and sometimes decades suffering through emotional abuse from figures in authority, they become so familiar with its effects that patterns of abuse turn into a normal part of life. It is not uncommon for members to be persuaded to ostracize friends or family members who question cult doctrine, or to be emasculated from the pulpit for not adhering to cult rules. Often, this persuasion is reinforced using Branham’s praise of corporal punishment for women and children. When it is put into action in the homes of parishioners, emotional abuse is followed by physical and even sexual. Branham praised those who brutally beat unclothed victims to the point of swelling and mutilation of skin[x], and the worst cases of abuse involve stripping females and both shaming and severely beating them.[xi] [xii]

Though the nature and severity of the abuse widely differs between cult churches, there appears to be a common theme. Former members who attended churches led by elders who used Branham’s statements to support emotional and physical abuse seem to have noticed more victims than those who attended churches that avoided those statements. Said one former “Message” member: “Most kids I know including myself were physically abused, all in the name of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ (A statement Branham frequently made in his sermons to support corporal punishment). Interestingly, similar patters appear in testimony from former members who attended “home church” – gathering in homes to listen to Branham’s recorded sermons from 1947-1965 – or who frequently listened to those recordings during the week between services. In a majority of cases described by former members, the abuse was designed to enforce cult rules and doctrine.

2. Jacobsen: How do these tactics differ for men and women? 

Collins: Any strategy used to manipulate or control members of a cult that differ between genders is directly related to the way in which gender roles are defined. This is true whether we are discussing William Branham’s “Message” cult based on Pentecostalism, Warren Jeff’s FLDS cult based on Mormonism, or any other religious cult displaying obvious differences in gender roles. The difference in tactics becomes more noticeable in religious groups whose definition of gender roles differs from society, especially when the cult’s definition of gender roles is based upon cult doctrine.

Gender roles in the “Message” have been defined very similarly to that of Christian Fundamentalism during the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s. William Branham encouraged the men to be the sole provider for the family unit, the women to be the family cook[xiii], and preached heavily against women who had any ambitions of a career.[xiv] Men are permitted to vote on political decisions, while women are strictly forbidden.[xv] Men keep up with current fashions, for the most part, while women are not allowed.[xvi]

Men are publicly shamed from the pulpit to enforce the control of their spouse,[xvii] inciting men to punish wives who do not adhere to the rules while denigrating women by insinuating they are property to be controlled. If wives disobey cult rules, Branham instructed men to beat them with boards.[xviii] Those who follow Branham’s advice begin a pattern of emotional and physical abuse that in many cases becomes more brutal over time.” [xix]

Many doctrinal teachings in the “Message are specifically designed to manipulate women through emotional abuse. Branham taught his followers to believe that the female part of the human race was designed by Satan, and that Satan was still making adjustments to the design.[xx] He taught that women were designed specifically to deceive, by her beauty, and that the female human was designed to have less morals than females of all other animals.[xxi] According to Branham, women would eventually be the cause of the destruction of the United States.[xxii] Women are emotionally manipulated to suppress their natural desire to be beautiful, to learn, to achieve, and to succeed. This suppression of thoughts, feelings, emotions, and ambition is so painful that it pushes some women into depression and suicidal thoughts.[xxiii]

3. Jacobsen: Why do these social control tactics differ in these ways?

Collins: The methods used to manipulate, influence, and control members of any religious cult differs between gender roles, especially within cults that originated before the Women’s Rights movement of the 1960’s having doctrine opposed to change. Outside a destructive cult, the lines separating gender roles have shifted significantly over the past fifty years. In cults based on Christian Fundamentalism of the United States, these lines do not move at the same pace, and sometimes not at all.

In the “Message” cult following of William Branham, the core teaching has been preserved through time by audio sermons recorded prior to Branham’s death in 1965. Though some sects of the cult have deviated from the core doctrine, a majority continue to preach and practice the views and opinions of a Christian Fundamentalist preacher fighting against the rapid pace of change in the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s. These recordings, without the central figure, have immortalized the cult leader, and the recordings themselves have become the central figure of the cult. As a result, the fight against change continues – even though the “change” has already taken place – and far more difficult to enforce or even fully understand in modern culture.

Many churches that follow Branham’s teachings consider William Branham to be their “pastor”…

…listen to the recordings, and replay Branham’s fight against cultural change every Wednesday and twice on Sunday. Those who do not play the tapes structure their sermons to match Branham’s agenda from the recordings, continuing the battle against gender equality[xxiv] and Civil Rights.[xxv] The typical sermon in a “Message” cult church will contain many references to the recordings, using direct quotes from William Branham to express Branham’s misogynistic views, and use similar patterns of emotional abuse to further enforce the cult’s views.

According to Branham, women were specifically designed by Satan for sex:

“But she is designed to be a sex act, and no other animal is designed like that. No other creature on the earth is designed like that.”

– Branham, 1965, Feb 21. “Marriage and Divorce”

Under Branham’s doctrinal teaching, men are trained to believe that women were a “only a scrap”, made to deceive the men:

“Only a piece, scrap, made of a man, to deceive him by; God made it, right here has proved it. That’s what she was made for.”

– Branham, 1965, Feb 21. “Marriage and Divorce”

Some cult pastors claim that these doctrines only apply to women who do not adhere to the cult’s female dress code, carefully avoiding some of Branham’s statements about the Creation Story. But when combined with Branham’s statements supporting or promoting the physical abuse of women and children, it is a recipe for disaster.

4. Jacobsen: How does the lack of internal support for critical thinking and, in fact, critical theology provide a ripe basis for the members of the community to be taken advantage of, throughout life?

Collins: The most unusual conversation I’ve had with a “Message” believer was when I began identifying several newspaper articles confirming William Branham’s 1907 birth year. One of the core beliefs in the “Message” was that the year 1909 was “spiritually significant”, and that the stars and planets aligned to announce William Branham’s birth. William Branham often described how the year 1909 was spiritually significant, and the majority of cult followers celebrate his birthdate as April 6, 1909.[xxvi] This was the date Branham used on the marriage license to his second wife, Meda.[xxvii]

Yet according to the 1920 Census[xxviii], William Branham’s parents listed his age as 12, placing his birth year in 1907, and newspaper articles I found confirmed the dates listed in the 1920 Census.[xxix] As it turned out, William Branham also used the year 1907 as a “supernatural sign” while speaking to the followers of deceased cult leader John Alexander Dowie in Zion City, IL.[xxx] Making matters even more confusing, William Branham listed his birth year as 1908 on his marriage license to his first wife, Hope.[xxxi]

To the follower of William Branham, I said, “William Branham could not have been born in all three years, 1907, 1908, and 1909. And if 1907 was ‘supernaturally’ significant because of his birth, then 1909 could not be ‘supernaturally’ significant because of his birth.”

His response surprised me: “I don’t understand it, brother, but I believe every word the ‘prophet’ spoke”.

When followers are manipulated into disabling critical thought, they open the door to critical problems. Not only are they allowing themselves to be influenced into believing things they would not ordinarily believe, they are allowing themselves to be persuaded into doing things they would not ordinarily do. While some might argue that abusive personalities would have abused other members of the cult without the emotional abuse Branham used in his sermons or the statements that he made promoting emotional and physical abuse, disabling critical examination of the sermons while giving ultimate authority to Branham’s words turns every statement into an order or action that must be carried out. It is how those orders are carried out that can be debated by members, and unfortunately, the abusive personalities carry them out in literal form. In the extreme cases, they have been combined with Branham’s misogynistic statements and have resulted in sexual abuse.

The problem, of course, is that this danger does not end after escaping the cult. Many escape Branham’s “leadership”, seeking to replace him with another “leader”, and find themselves trading one cult for another. Others, unaware that manipulative personalities exist in all walks of life, find themselves taken advantage of at home, in the workplace, on the streets, or even in new churches by other members. Though the non-cult situations are far less extreme, they could have been prevented simply by applying critical thought.

5. Jacobsen: What have been some – without names – more tragic cases of those who were hurt within community? What are some more heartening ones where people got out and started healthy lives outside of the myopic worldview of the purported “Message”?

Collins: For many years, current and former members of the “Message” were largely unaware of the abuse that existed in the cult. There were rumors, obviously, that spread whenever an elder or leader of a cult church stepped down due to sexual misconduct, but for the most part, leaders of the “Message” have been largely successful in suppressing information regarding abuse.

Beyond the horrific cases I’ve already mentioned, the abuse is seldom talked about even by former members. Victims who speak out are often further victimized, and some of them have reconciled with their predators or abusers. To speak out would be to re-open wounds that are in the process of healing and expose others whose victims believe the abuse has ended. The predators and abusers were also victims of the cult, manipulated in ways that are difficult for anyone to understand, and some former members have sympathy for both the abuser and the abused.

It wasn’t until recently that former members began speaking publicly about their abuse in the “Message” cult. A former member with a passion to help the victims setup a website, Casting Pearls Project (http://castingpearlsproject.com), and began publishing testimonies by former members who had escaped the abuse and reclaimed their lives. This led to several others stepping forward, both publicly and in private, allowing those outside the cult to catch a personal glimpse into what it was like to be an abused female in the “Message”.

On the website, there are stories describing nine-year-old girls that were psychologically, physically, and sexually abused for years.[xxxii] Multiple women were often forced to strip their clothes off to be shamed or molested while fully nude.[xxxiii] Some were brutalized while nude, one of which was beaten with a Louisville Slugger baseball bat.[xxxiv] In one case, a child was murdered by a sexual predator whose crimes had been covered up.[xxxv] The testimonies given by former members are horrific. It would be impossible to rate them as to which are less tragic, and which are more. Each victim, each form of abuse, carries just as much weight when one former member reaches out to help another. For them, their pain was the worst.

The beauty of the Casting Pearls Project is that there are happy new beginnings. Each person will carry a burden for a lifetime but have been able to start healthy lives. One is an author who is actively helping other victims as a volunteer speaker in the Arizona Department of Corrections for the Impact of Crime on its Victims Classes (ICVC), discussing the murder of children, the impact of child abuse on children, and the impact of domestic violence on women.[xxxvi] Women, who were trained from birth to believe that women should not enter the workforce, have started successful careers.[xxxvii] Some have found new and healthy churches to attend,[xxxviii] while others will never trust religion again.[xxxix]

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Author; Webmaster, Seek The Truth.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 15, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-two; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[i] Branham, William. 1964, May 31. The Oddball. “And to come here this morning and look, this fine little Jerusalem setting out here, little, what I called, it Goshen, I believe, when we come over this morning. Remember, Goshen was one of the places that they worshipped, one of the first places the tent was pitched.”

[ii] People vs Keith Thomas Loker. 44 CAL. 4TH 691, 188 P.3D 580, 80 CAL. RPTR. 3D 630. Accessed 2019, Feb 26 from https://scocal.stanford.edu/opinion/people-v-loker-33137#opinion

[iii] Ellrodt, Oliver. Brown, Stephen. Insight: German sect victims seek escape from Chilean nightmare past. “Schaefer followed the teachings of American preacher William M. Branham, one of the founders of the “faith healing” movement in the 1940s and ‘50s. Born in a log cabin in Kentucky, Branham said he had been visited by angels and attracted tens of thousands of followers with sermons that advocated a strict adherence to the Bible, a woman’s duty to obey her husband and apocalyptic visions, such as Los Angeles sinking beneath the ocean.” Accessed 2019, Feb 26 from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-chile-sect-idUSBRE8480MN20120509

[iv] Ellrodt, Brown. “Former members of the sect say that Schaefer preached against “sins of the flesh.” He also segregated men and women, they say, subjecting all but a few to enforced celibacy. Anyone who disobeyed was brutally punished, often by Schaefer personally.”

[v] Collns, John. Colonia Dignidad and Jonestown. Accessed 2019, Feb 26 from https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=67352

[vi] Example: Branham, William. 1958, Mar 24. Hear Ye Him. “Now, you can take some of these little two-by-fours if you want to, but that’s what God said. That’s what Christ said. Now, that’s the truth. Oh, God be merciful. What must the great Holy Spirit think when He comes before the Father? You say, “Why you picking on us women?” All right, men, here you are. Any man that’ll let his wife smoke cigarettes and wear them kind of clothes, shows what he’s made out of. He’s not very much of a man. That’s exactly right. True. He don’t love her or he’d take a board and blister her with it.” Accessed 2019, Feb 26 from http://seekyethetruth.com/Branham/resources-deep-abuse.aspx

[vii] G. Sarah. Brain Hurt. “It was very difficult as well to attend a church when you knew the pastor had been convicted of sexually molesting a young girl. He went to prison, yet, when he was released he didn’t want to give up his church. If that wasn’t bad enough, just a few years later, this same man was caught in another country with a prostitute in his hotel room shower. Still to this day he has a church following.” Accessed 2019, Feb 26 from https://castingpearlsproject.com/brain-hurt

[viii] Example: Chikafa-Chipiro, Rosemary. Discoursing women, Christianity and security: The framing of women in the Gumbura case in Zimbabwean media. Accessed 2019, Feb 26 from https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/kMIYBeS8G7jwRU5CEbdz/full

[ix] William Branham Pastor Convicted of Rape and Pornography. Accessed 2019, Feb 26 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eq0NYcrl94o

[x] Branham, William. 1956, July 28. Making the Valley Full of Ditches. “She’d beat her till she’d be so full of welts, you couldn’t get the clothes over the top of them. That’s what needs to be done tonight.”

[xi] Example: A. Anna-Lisa. Turning Pain Into Power. “The abuse included the most degrading forms of humiliation. I was locked in a basement cellar for hours or even days, naked, with no food. I was forced to walk around my home completing chores, not a stitch of clothing on my body. I was coerced into performing various exercise routines, naked, my parents laughing while they picked apart and ridiculed my body. My legs were scarred from where my mother grabbed me and dug her nails into me. Handprints and nail marks were left on my face after being slapped or pinched on the nose and drug wherever I was wanted. Punishments also included beatings with a belt and a Louisville Slugger, the resulting welts impossible to describe.” Accessed 2019, Feb 26 from https://castingpearlsproject.com/turning-pain-into-power.

[xii] Example: Layton, Martha. Psalm 147:3. “We started listening to Message tapes. I believe the Message pushed him over the edge. I was beaten, thrown out naked into the streets, choked, and almost killed.” Accessed 2019, Feb 26 from https://castingpearlsproject.com/psalm-147%3A3

[xiii] Branham, William. 1956, Oct 3. Painted-Face Jezebel. “listen, sister dear, God made you for one place, the kitchen. When you get out of there, you’re out of His will. Remember that. Women was made to be a helpmate at the house. She never was made for office work. And it’s caused more disgrace and divorces and things.”

[xiv] Branham, William. 1957, Oct 6. Questions and Answers on Hebrews #3. “Our nation has come so little until they’ve even taken the jobs away from the man, and put women out here in these places, till ninety percent of them, nearly, are prostitutes. And talk about men being gone, sure, it’s because they got women out there in their jobs. And they got so low-down till they put women as peace officers on the street. That’s a disgrace to any nation!”

[xv] Branham, William. 1960, Nov 13. Condemnation by Representation. “It shall also…has been an evil thing done in this country, they have permitted women to vote. This is a woman’s nation, and she will pollute this nation as Eve did Eden.”

[xvi] Branham, William. 1960, Feb 21. Hearing, Recognizing, Acting on the Word of God. “Morals, there’s no moral to it no more. Women, dressing evil; come through television, all kinds of impersonations of evil people of Hollywood, all kinds of stuff, fashions.”

[xvii] Example: Branham, William. 1954, May 9. The Invasion of the United States. “You say, “Well, the women.” Yes, and you men that’ll permit your wives to do that, that shows what you’re made out of.”

[xviii] Branham, William. 1958, Mar 24. Hear Ye Him. “All right, men, here you are. Any man that’ll let his wife smoke cigarettes and wear them kind of clothes, shows what he’s made out of. He’s not very much of a man. That’s exactly right. True. He don’t love her or he’d take a board and blister her with it.”

[xix] Example: Lefler, Joyce A. From Miracle to Murder. Accessed 2019, Feb 27 from https://castingpearlsproject.com/from-miracle-to-murder

[xx] Branham, William. 1965, Feb 21. Marriage and Divorce. “But in the human race, it’s the woman that’s pretty, not the man; if he is, there is something wrong, there is crossed-up seed somewhere. Originally it’s that way. Why, why was it done? To deceive by. Her designer, Satan, is still working on her, too, in these last days.”

[xxi] Branham, William. 1965, Feb 21. Marriage and Divorce. “Notice, there is nothing designed to stoop so low, or be filthy, but a woman. A dog can’t do it, a hog can’t do it, a bird can’t do it. No animal is immoral, nor it can be, for it is not designed so it can be. A female hog can’t be immoral, a female dog can’t be immoral, a female bird can’t be immoral. A woman is the only thing can do it. 116 Now you see where Satan went?”

[xxii] Branham, William. 1960, Nov 13. Condemnation by Representation. “Women, given the right to vote, elected President-elect Kennedy, was the woman’s vote, the wrong man; which will finally lead to full control, of the Catholic church, in United States. Then the bomb comes that explodes her.”

[xxiii] Example: H, Jennifer. Unwanted. Accessed 2019, Feb 27 from https://castingpearlsproject.com/unwanted

[xxiv] Branham, William. 1965, Feb 21. Marriage and Divorce. “Only a piece, scrap, made of a man, to deceive him by; God made it, right here has proved it. That’s what she was made for.”

[xxv] Example discussing Integration: Branham, William. 1963, Jun 28. O Lord, Just Once More. “He makes white man, black man, red man. We should never cross that up. It becomes a hybrid. And anything hybrid cannot re-breed itself. You are ruining the race of people. There is some things about a colored man that a white man don’t even possess them traits. A white man is always stewing and worrying; a colored man is satisfied in the state he is in, so they don’t need those things.”

[xxvi] A Special Day. Accessed 2019, Feb 26 from https://branham.org/en/articles/442017_ASpecialDay

[xxvii] 1941, Oct 23. Marriage License: William Branham and Meda Broy

[xxviii] 1920, Jan 20. Fourteenth Census of the United States.

[xxix] Example confirming William Branham’s age on the 1920 Census: 1924, Jun Mar 21. Hospital Bill Rendered. Courier Journal. “William Branham, 16 years old”

[xxx] Branham, William. 1951, Sept 29. Our Hope is in God. “How Doctor Dowie, in his death, prophesied that I would come to that city forty years from the time that he died. Not knowing nothing about it, he died on one day, and I was borned on the next. And forty years to the day I entered the city, not knowing nothing about it.”

[xxxi] 1934, June 22. Marriage License: William Branham and Hope Brumbach

[xxxii] Lefler, Joyce A. From Miracle to Murder. “No one listened to me while my ex-husband psychologically, physically, and sexually abused her over the years that followed.” Accessed 2019, Feb 27 from https://castingpearlsproject.com/from-miracle-to-murder

[xxxiii] Example: Layton, Martha. Psalm 147:3. “He told us that God had a special message for us. He told us that God wanted us to get naked and pray in a circle together. We proceeded to strip off our clothes and then the lights were turned out. I know I was only four, but I felt a sense of embarrassment having to strip off in front of my dad and brother. As we begin to pray my brother decided to touch me sexually for the very first time.”

[xxxiv] Example: A. Anna-Lisa. Turning Pain into Power. “I was coerced into performing various exercise routines, naked, my parents laughing while they picked apart and ridiculed my body. My legs were scarred from where my mother grabbed me and dug her nails into me. Handprints and nail marks were left on my face after being slapped or pinched on the nose and drug wherever I was wanted. Punishments also included beatings with a belt and a Louisville Slugger, the resulting welts impossible to describe.” Accessed 2019, Feb 26 from https://castingpearlsproject.com/turning-pain-into-power.

[xxxv] Lefler, Joyce A. From Miracle to Murder. “Thanks to two police detectives and a state prosecutor, Adam’s case was finally solved. It was discovered that the coroner had been wrong in the timing and cause of Adam’s death. If there had been a thorough investigation in 1983, the year Adam died, it would have been discovered that Eugene, the babysitter, had a history of domestic violence and vile behavior towards children. He abused his first wife and tried to strangle and sexually molest their son. Eugene sexually molested his second wife’s daughter from her first marriage and then sexually molested the two daughters they had together. Maybe Eugene’s family was aware of his history but didn’t inform me. I was an easy target. The “Message” hadn’t prepared me to think or speak for myself or to question authority.” Accessed 2019, Feb 27 from https://castingpearlsproject.com/from-miracle-to-murder

[xxxvi] Lefler, Joyce A

[xxxvii] Example: A. Anna-Lisa. Turning Pain Into Power. “Fast forward 8 years later: I am 29 and absolutely the most confident I have ever been. I am a single mother with a career that is taking off and will take me places I NEVER imagined I deserved.” Accessed 2019, Feb 26 from https://castingpearlsproject.com/turning-pain-into-power.

[xxxviii] Example: Jennifer H. Unwaned. “After leaving the Message, my husband and I joined a church that was the opposite of the Message. Here we found sound Biblical doctrine, love, and the Celebrate Recovery program.” Accessed 2019, Feb 26 from https://castingpearlsproject.com/unwanted

[xxxix] Example: Christine H. Breaking the Chains. “I will NEVER trust a religion again. I now rely only on a true God that loves me unconditionally. Broken and scarred, I am still worthy!” Accessed 2019, Feb 26 from https://castingpearlsproject.com/breaking-the-chains

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with John Collins on Branhamism and Abuse (Part Two) [Online].March 2019; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-two.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, March 15). An Interview with John Collins on Branhamism and Abuse (Part Two)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-two.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with John Collins on Branhamism and Abuse (Part Two). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A, March. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-two>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “An Interview with John Collins on Branhamism and Abuse (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-two.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with John Collins on Branhamism and Abuse (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A (March 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-two.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with John Collins on Branhamism and Abuse (Part Two)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-two>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with John Collins on Branhamism and Abuse (Part Two)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-two.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with John Collins on Branhamism and Abuse (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 19.A (2018):March. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-two>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with John Collins on Branhamism and Abuse (Part Two) [Internet]. (2019, March 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-two.

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An Interview to a Tanzanian Emeritus Professor Alex L. Mwakikoti on Living Without a Religion and More

Author: By Nsajigwa I.Mwasokwa (Nsajigwa Nsa’sam) with Lucas A. Isakwisa

Numbering: Issue 1.B, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: March 8, 2019

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 7,830

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Welcome one and all…we are members of Jichojipya – Think Anew, an organisation with the Educational objects of popularizing philosophy in a fearless – freethinking line, aiming to have positive impact of enlightenment to the society through rationalistic, logic, empirically-based secular values…

We work to identify, unearth and connect freethinkers…be they Secularists, Rationalists, Sceptics and Humanists…those living without a religion in Swahili “Maadili bila dini”. We are the group that interviewed philosophical-wise the late eminent Elder Kingunge Ngombale Mwiru, who came out as an independent thinker and a freethinker, contrary to what the people had been assuming about him. It was a rare occasion then, as it is now, as we interview yet another eminent individual, an Emeritus Professor whose life-stance is like that of Kingunge Ngombale Mwiru, a nonbeliever in the same line as Okot p’Bitek – that university lecturer and writer in 1960s to 1970s of books “Song of Lawino and Okol”, “African religions in western scholarship”, and “Towards Africa’s cultural revolution”. Okot p’Bitek came out as such, a nonbeliever from East Africa, same way as Wole Soyinka, a lecturer too and Africa’s first winner of Nobel Prize for literature (1986), a writer of “Trial of Brother Jero”, native from West Africa. Is it possible to live good without religion..? Let us follow this interview to find that out.

And so..here now we have another Eminent Individual, an academician, emeritus Prof. Alex L Mwakikoti, a Tanzanian. It is our Jichojipya-Think Anew honor, pleasure and privilege…Welcome Mwalimu Mwakikoti

Keywords: Alex L. Mwakikoti, Dar es Salaam, Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge, Lucas A. Isakwisa, Nsajigwa I. Mwasokwa (Nsajigwa Nsa’sam), Tanzania.

An Interview to a Tanzanian Emeritus Professor Alex L. Mwakikoti on Living Without a Religion and More[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*Please note the casual, at times, language style and use are intended to be kept within the content sent.*

An Interview to a Tanzanian Emeritus Professor Alex L. Mwakikoti on Living Without a Religion and More Scott Douglas Jacobsen In-Sight Publishing

The main interviewer and the Founder of Jicho Jipya – Think Anew, Nsajigwa I. Mwasokwa (Nsajigwa Nsa’sam), with Tanzanian Emeritus Professor Alex L. Mwakikoti holding Living Without Religion by the late Paul Kurtz.

1) (a) Hon. Sir, you are a Freethinker, what is an independent thinker? and a freethinker?
(b) How did you become an independent thinker and eventually a freethinker? What circumstances caused someone like you to be a freethinker, and at what age did you become a freethinker? Let us hear the story of that aspect of your life.
More so, of all categories of freethinkers & nonbelievers (Agnostic, Atheists, Ethical-Culturist, Humanist, Secular Humanist, Sceptic, Rationalist, Materialist, etc.) what name “tag” explains best about you and why is that?

Professor A Mwakikoti: Strictly speaking, I can say an independent thinker is one who is not influenced by anything in the process of thinking about issues; the rationalization is based on child-like inquiries arise because of curiosity. Unfortunately, that innocence of child-like questioning slowly disappears as we grow up because our mental capacity of thinking is modified by the social norms in cultures where we find ourselves. A freethinker, to my estimation, is someone who, after being affected by societal norms on how to think about issues, begins to retreat to child-like thinking with complete freedom of asking questions that the social norms may suggest as dangerous or should not be asked. Because by now the individual is mature, there is nothing that stops that freedom of asking as well as seeking answers to questions that would otherwise be stopped. Today, a freethinker is therefore associated with other connotations such as Atheists, Humanists and the like.

My journey to becoming an independent thinker and eventually a freethinker was a process. It did not happen at one time and space. Indulge me to give you a brief story. I am a product of a Lutheran Church Evangelist, Yehoswa Mwakikoti. He was a devoted person who evangelized a large area in Udzungwa region in Iringa, Tanzania. Growing up, I came to emulate my father in most of the things he did. People predicted that I would become a preacher like him. I was baptized when I was young, and after I was confirmed (known as mature independent Christian at about 13) I started asking questions about some stories in the Bible. I enjoyed them, but it seemed to me that some of them were too scary and I became more fearful of God’s punishment for those who did not obey him. After completing my primary school education, I started asking the accuracy of the Bible stories as taught by the Lutheran Church, and so in 1968, I decided to leave the Lutheran Church, but did not know which church I would join. After independently studying the Bible, I decided that instead of resting on Sunday, I would rest on Saturday as a Sabbath. I later came to realize that there were people called Seventh-day Adventists who practiced that teaching. It became natural for me to join them. Upon completing secondary education, an American missionary asked if I would volunteer to start a Seventh-day Adventist church in Mufindi, Iringa, and he promised he would send me to college. I did, and the missionary kept his promise. I went to a two-year college diploma in Uganda, came back to Tanzania and worked as a pastor in Lindi and Temeke in Dar es Salaam. Later, I went to complete my bachelor’s degree in theology at Newbold College in England. I did not want to stop with a bachelor’s degree; I decided to find a way to fund myself and continue with higher education. It was not until I was studying for my master’s degree in religion in the United States, when my questioning was further rekindled and a new serge for why of the bible and bible figures grew sharper. As I said before, I cannot pinpoint the date of my “conversion” to a non-believer, but I can say after completing my Ph.D. is Sociology, more questions arose, especially when I learned that it was a society that created religion, and not religion that created society. Eventually, in 2007, I detached from all religions, calling myself a Humanist. You can say I became a freethinker and a Humanist when I was at the height of my career as a Professor of sociology and communication.

Jichojipya – Think Anew team response: You have reminded us of late elder Kingunge Ngombale Mwiru, on the interview we had with him (google-search “Discussion with a Tanzanian eminent public figure who happened to be a freethinker”). He said the same thing that it was on reading books by Thomas Paine and especially Ludwig Feuerbach (its English translation called the Essence of Christianity) that made him became awakened to that reality that ahaa…so it was the society that created the gods…!

2) What is your experience of being a freethinker and independent thinker? Have you lived a lonely and isolated life…? are you alone? Mentally okay…?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: As a freethinker and independent thinker, I noticed how lonely I was. Most of my friends were and are strong religious people, and some of the members of my family, especially my wife, who is an assiduous devoted Christian. I remember having a tearful talk with her when I decided to become an open freethinker. The Bible taught that people of different faith should not be married; how will we live our life together after this fact? We decided each of us to follow our different path of beliefs, and yet to stay married. Such union has its challenges. Currently, I do not feel like a loner freethinker. With the current technology, the Internet has brought information and links of groups of every kind, including freethinkers’ groups. It was through the Internet that I came to learn the existence of Atheist groups. I was extremely pleased when I connected with Nsajigwa Mwasokwa and learned that it was possible to officially start freethinker’s organization in Tanzania, to which I take pride for being part in the formation process. I am no longer alone, and my mental and emotional capacity and social relationships with fellow freethinkers is better than when I started my journey.

Jichojipya-Think Anew response: Professor, are you talking about this very Nsajigwa here or another one…?

Prof. A Mwakikoti…I am talking about this very one here…our own Nsajigwa…in fact for the record, he has been a pioneer for his generation and for Freethinking. If you search on the internet for information about freethinkers in Tanzania, Nsajigwa will be the top name to come up. I first met him after I googled for freethinkers in Tanzania. We, Tanzanian freethinkers, are proud of Nsajigwa, our own…!

3) How did the circle of academicians of which you belonged accepted you as a Freethinker – academically, socially, religiously…? any stigma…?

We are aware you are part of Jichojipya – Think anew, tell us how you became a part of that and what has been your experience, and how do you see its work so far and prospects for the future…?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: I came to learn years later, that the University of Texas at Arlington, where I taught earlier had a chapter of Atheists; had I known, I would have become an active member there. Academicians, especially in the United States, accepts individuals irrespective of their religious or non-religious affiliations. This is part of the US constitution that prohibits discriminatory policies in all organizations including educational institutions. It is true that you can socially feel outcast in the circles of religious events; but many universities separate those events from the institutional functions just as there is a separation of church and state. But when I taught in a religiously affiliated institution (Wiley College), there was a pull to become part of the religious practice (even though, they did not force any one to do so) as it would be against the established government regulations. I remember at one time the college Chaplain asked me to participate in a devotional discussion at the college assembly. When I told her that I was not affiliated to any religion, she still asked me to say something, because she said, “many students and faculty respect you very much.” I accepted her request, and being a theologian by training, I decided to select a subject from the Bible, “the truth will set you free” for my presentation. She later said she was pleased to have such discussion that many in religious circles do not think much about—Using child-like thinking and questioning everything to arrive to the truth. When in a religious related institution, a freethinker must find a way of using the opportunity to talk about how we arrive at the truth. I remember after that talk, two students came to me and said they were also non-believers and were astounded that I was too.

As I said, it was while I was wondering and searching in the internet to find if there were any freethinkers in Tanzania, that I bumped into Nsajigwa Mwasokwa. After a brief correspondence, I decided I would meet with him when I am in Tanzania . . . the rest of the story is; we are now here together. As you can conceivably imagine, soon after our meeting, I told him that we need to have the organization up and running. My experience of being a member of Jicho Jipya – Think Anew has been a thrill. No organization is free from challenges; but such challenges usually make people think. As far as what the organization has done thus far, I believe it has achieved noble progress, but more so, I am looking forward to what I believe together, we can accomplish as an organization. You see, as a Humanist, I envision that we, as an organization, can provide what is missing in our society. Education, a practical one that empowers people, especially young people to become productive in society—especially by becoming entrepreneurs in various fields. Therefore, I think while we begin with baby-steps, our vision should be to reach the sky of progress. I envision we can be able to create communities that are self-sufficient by first starting with our own organization that can be wealth producing and self-sufficient providing aids to the needy in a multiplicity of ways, such as education, health, finances, and in other areas. It is, therefore, imperative for us to draw a map of where we want to be in five, ten, twenty and fifty years from now

4) (a) Hon Sir, as an eminent Tanzanian academician of sociology…did you ever had a chance to know in person and interact with Founder-father Mwalimu J.K Nyerere? (b)What about this that when Mwalimu Nyerere said (in one of his speeches) if we choose a non-believer as Tanzanian President, we shall have to find other non-religious arrangements of swearing in such a person, without Bible or Koran…What’s your take on that…?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: Unfortunately, I never had a chance to personally meet and interact with Mwalimu J. K. Nyerere. I have read some of his writings, watched his clips and listened to his speeches. I am always astonished on how inclusive he was on freethinking and his vision for the future of Tanzania and Tanzanians. For example, his famous statement that should we choose a non-believer in Tanzania as President, we shall have to find other non-religious arrangement of swearing in such a person. To me, this is a clear indication of how forward-thinking and pragmatic about the possibility of where Tanzania could eventually find herself in the future. Voicing such statements is a clear indication of a great visionary and wise statesman.

Jichojipya – Think Anew response: But Sir, do you see yourself as someone influenced by Mwalimu Nyerere’s philosophy and teachings…?
Prof. A Mwakikoti… Oh, especially on his notion about education, which is in line with the Latin American thinker Paulo Freire as in his book Pedagogy of the oppressed. He said that education should not be just theoretical, it must be practical at the same time. It should not be an education for education’s own sake.

(c) Where else, if outside those books, would someone a freethinker nonbeliever gets his/her moral ideals based on…?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: As one who was deeply in religious circles, I can categorically say that the so-called religious books, such as the Bible, do not necessarily provide moral ideals where one can base on. How do you explain, for example, the morality of forcing someone to worship you and if you don’t, get punished? How do you force love on someone, for example, is that moral? How do you punish or kill someone who has not done anything wrong, but on behalf of someone who wronged? Leave alone the un imaginary story of killings that are rampant in those “holy” books as sanctioned by a god? Is that moral? Or, how do we define moral ideals? From personal experience, I can attest that it was after I came out of religion did, I find it is possible, and natural to be ‘good’ without a god. Doing good freely without a reward or fear of punishment. True love is found where it is expressed freely without strings attached.

(d) Although the people of Tanzania as Africans are “notoriously religious”, (to use the phrase of Late Prof. John Mbiti) however Tanzania state is “secular” by its constitution thus supposedly its practice. As a freethinker Yourself, please give us your analysis how far is that true de facto…?
Do you think there was and still there is perhaps anyhow, somehow, religious overspill sometimes on state governance affairs?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: Although at the first glance I think Professor John Mbiti over simplified the reality of Africans thinking since Africans had the notion of some type of faith traditions, they were ‘notoriously religious.’ He may have been right on one aspect that certain principles are transmitted from one generation to another whether religious principles or not—that is the natural societal dynamics. Yet, you cannot lump all such transmission as ‘religious. Societies consciously create religion through a notorious charismatic leader to perpetuate their messages (whether they are self-made or thought of as sent to them divinely). Mbiti’s notion of Africans as notoriously religious must have been a way to refute the main mission of the Westerners coming to Africa to evangelize non-religious people. Once a tradition or religion is created by society and is transmitted from one generation to another, it definitely can overspill to any societal institutional including state governments. After all, governments are products of society just as religions are.

(e) Your thought Sir on Prayer for the National assembly – “Dua la kuliombea Bunge ritual” also National anthem as on both, “God” is mentioned while in fact, the Nation is secular, not a theocracy. How is that…? (is it not a contradiction…?)

Prof. A Mwakikoti: Many societies, including the so-called freest nation of the United States of America, have struggled when it comes to the ritual of praying or the inclusion of “God” in their national anthems as is the case of oaths. I personally believe it is because of the dynamics of society. Most members of society are not critical thinkers—it takes energy to become one. Instead, they take things for granted without asking questions about the traditions they follow. This is where the paradox lies—are we truly secular or theocracy? Whether it be in Tanzania or in the United States of America, to me this is a clear contradiction.

Jichojipya – Think Anew: Yes, even Mwalimu Nyerere once talked about this too. He saw it as a “contradiction” when we say our country is secular yet our national anthem mentioning god…!

5) As a freethinker Sir, for a very long time, what has been the good side of being so? And may be what had been the hurdles, challenges…?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: As a Freethinker, I like to view things from the perspective of fairness and freedom. While it has not been that long, I enjoy being personally accountable of the decisions I make, not being afraid of a being somewhere who may reward or punish me for my ‘thoughts and actions’. Likewise, I do not blame the “Devil” for making me do it; I personally make my decisions, good or bad. This state of mind has made me free indeed. This is the good part of being a freethinker. I am not afraid of hellfire. The hurdles for me is having a believing spouse. I sometimes have to think before I do certain things so as not to unreasonably hurt her. Again, as a Humanist Freethinker, I have to think about others in my decisions. Sometimes this can lead to making compromises. For example, when having visitors and my wife, for example, asks to stand up and close our eyes to pray for food; even though I may not close my eyes, I may respectively stand up. Such has been my practice to those organizations I belong to or visits who begin their meetings with prayer.

6) From independent thinking to freethinking perspective, 50 years of Uhuru, how do you foresee the future of Tanzania and Africa in terms of Liberty and better life?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: Liberty and a better life are what people make. The 50 years of Tanzania’s independence should be the beginning of a reflective and plan for the next 50 years of how Africa and Tanzania, in particular, should be. Mwalimu J K Nyerere paved a way in many ways, the Presidents that have followed have done what was best at the time. It is high time in Tanzania and in many African countries to think more of what the leaders want their nations to be in fifty years to come – not each in their own leadership term. Such consideration should include economic, education, reduction of poverty, social welfare and others. Tanzania and many African nations are so rich with natural resources, and manpower enough to manufacture their own goods to supply in almost every need and export many to other countries. There is absolutely no reason for them to continue seeking aids from other countries—they should be providing aids to them. With sufficiency in the economy and in other aspects, liberty and a better life are inevitable.

An Interview to a Tanzanian Emeritus Professor Alex L. Mwakikoti on Living Without a Religion and More 2 Scott Douglas Jacobsen In-Sight Publishing

Mount Kilimanjaro.

7) What is your opinion as an independent thinker and a freethinker on the failure of Tanzania and Africa in general to industrialize? And what is your view on Mwalimu Nyerere’s kujitegemea, self-reliance teaching?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: I think Tanzania and other African countries are on the road to industrialization. It is important to look back and learn why we have not industrialized in our fifty years of independence. Some say this is a very short period when you, for example, you compare to the United States of America in their over 250 years of independence. But one should consider this, how fast did the spread of cellphone communication take? We did not say, let’s follow the traditional time-span it took the USA to establish their telecommunication, we jumped into it (I remember then coming to Tanzania to find some Tanzanians having already mobile-phones before many living in the USA!). Things should go fast today. We have the manpower, we have the raw materials, we have tools to extract raw materials from our wealth, why should it take many years. I believe it is a matter of changing our mode of the thinking process. When that is done, industrialization will come fast. I conceive self-reliance learning and teaching by JICHO JIPYA as an organization could be one of the hallmarks of reaching out to bring about change to our societies that will reflect the forward thinking of Mwalimu Nyerere and other strong political leaders of governments.

(b) Multiplications of “Dark age attitude” is seen in believes in magic, superstitions, miracles, witchcraft, “Freemasonry”, “juju” to influence winning soccer games and even the killing of people based on such beliefs. Does it imply those efforts on free education including “Ngumbaru” Adult education to fight against “enemy ignorance” have all been in vain…? and if so, where did we go wrong or rather get it wrong…?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: All these beliefs whether they are ‘dark age attitude’ magic, superstitions, miracles, witchcraft, and others, I consider them to be lack of education. In Tanzania, I think, the fight for ignorance cannot be said to have been in vain, rather, we could say it has not been balanced. The question of ‘what should education address?’ should critically be investigated by the institutions that are responsible for it. For a long time, and most recently, education has followed the traditional colonial streams that have not provided adequate solutions to our society or to our students. For example, what is the use of having so many colleges and universities in Tanzania when many of them are providing the same traditional curricular leading to overpopulated learners of the same and without employment? We should critically rethink the needs of Tanzania for five years, ten years and even twenty years or more from now when deciding on the curricular of our schools. Our young people should not complete their degrees and begin searching for questionable and illegal types of employment. We should provide an environment where diverse types of employment have been carefully forecast and studied years before they complete education. This calls for critical thinking by all concerned organizations in Tanzania and JICHO JIPYA should champion in this process. If we go back for a moment on adult education (reading and writing), adult education needed to be and should be progressive. Not only knowing how to read and write but applying to everyday living. This too, requires an answer to the question, ‘adult education—to what end’? A response to this question will lead to progressive and meaningful education; furthermore, all forms of education should free us from superstitious beliefs into critical and analytical thinking.

8) As a freethinker, what is your advice to young Freethinkers, can freethinkers play any positive role in society? How? Can they be a vehicle to re-educate against such “dark age mentality” a’ la irrationality…?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: Generally young people are the best change agents is society. My advice to young freethinkers is to be pragmatic in their everyday life. They should be role models by continually learning about everything and providing rational thinking in every situation they find themselves. I believe this can create a vehicle of re-educating the society against all the irrational ill thinking about everyday life happenstances including “dark-age mentality”. We are fortunate in Tanzania and in many other societies to have energetic young people who are in leadership positions all walks of life. We should use such opportunity, not to preach or convert people to our thinking mode; but rather, we should live a life that others will want to emulate as they see how successful we are.

9) In your opinion as a freethinker, is “blame game’ to the west still relevant? Is it valid to continue blaming colonialists (as Pan Africanist constantly do) for Africa’s underdevelopment, 50+ years after UHURU – Self-governance? How effective is that? For an antidote, Mwalimu Nyerere suggested kujitegemea – self-reliance ideal…why even that seems so difficult to pursue and attain in post-colonial Africa…? what needs to be done…? Which way forward between Pan Africanism’s constant blame game vs Mwalimu Nyerere’s kujitegemea, Self-reliance on the other-side…?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: A ‘blame game’ or rather, an excuse for development and growth that is cast toward the west is, in my assessment, an irrational one to a large extent. We have gone fifty and beyond years of independence in Tanzania and many other African countries. No Pan Africanist should hide under the umbrella of blame game anymore. Prior to independence and soon after that, it seemed understandable to blame the west. At present, we should blame ourselves for not strategically analyzing what we want to accomplish as Africans in our countries. Mwalimu Nyerere conceived it right, that we entered an era of ‘kujitegemea’ self-reliance, whereby our future is no longer decided by the west, rather, we create our own wealth and distribute it according to the projected developmental needs of our Nation. It amazes me that at present (2019), we still have a sizeable percentage of our national budget based on what we expect as donations from the west in forms of loans and gifts. Where does any rational thinking individual budget their personal income to include a percentage that uncles, relatives, and passerby individuals will donate to balance the monthly expenditure? Never. Organizations, and especially JICHO JIPYA should set standards, paving the way to live like adults in the room by being financially independent and stop the now unpopular blame.

10) What is your opinion on the issue of cultural revival? Do you think as for now local languages (say Kihehe) should be allowed and used as vehicles of communication together with Kiswahili and English to even get broadcast in Radio and TV without “fear” covered in a fallacy that doing so is to encourage “tribalism”?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: I am a proponent of local cultural tourism, and as such, I think local languages should remain active and preserve the dynamic of local cultures. It is of no surprise that there are words in every language that can hardly be translated into Kiswahili or into English or in any other language without losing the true meaning of it because of they’re culturally specific. As such, languages should have a place in the communication of all aspects including broadcast to preserve cultures. If we venerate individuals who encourage nationalism and remain open to other nations, why shouldn’t tribalism be encouraged at the same time allowing a positive interaction with other tribes? In my opinion, tribalism is only negative when it engenders ethnocentrism into it; that is, measuring all other tribes using the yardstick of one’s own tribe. This is another example of those concepts that are handed from generation to the next and are taken as rules without asking hard questions about their legitimacy.

Jichojipya Think Anew response: And what about this dilemma that it is said the teaching of English is making it difficult for Tanzanian students at secondary to higher levels all the way to colleges and universities to grasp the gist of education, it is being claimed that had it been through Kiswahili may be things could have been better..?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: Yes, the challenge is there that several Tanzanian students that cannot express themselves adequately, concisely by speaking or writing via English. The fact is, other Nations like Mexico, Arab countries and those in Asia are using their local languages and English as well. I think there is a need for balance in using both languages. We cannot use only Kiswahili and isolate ourselves from international interaction. Experts tell us that kids can learn effectively up to 10 languages simultaneously, so it is a question of emphasis we adults put on. It comes down to the question of how languages are taught.

Jichojipya – Think Anew response: Yes, in one of his speeches of 1990s, Founder Father Mwalimu Nyerere talking about the subject said we are blessed to have both Swahili…our own Kiswahili – The National language and the “Kiswahili of the world” – implying English adding that, we must learn, study to master and use both simultaneously. So, it is true that the question could be on our own teaching methodology.

11) In Tanzania, very few individuals are known to be open non-believers (and this is the essence of finding out to know and document such individuals – Henry Odera Oruka-like project back then) …are there others like you that you knew or still know? and do you interlink with other fellow freethinkers worldwide? (Mzee Kingunge said he was alone even in the company of his “comrades” the Marxists – a Marxian by dialectic approach himself, but never a Marxist as many of his comrades thought him to be…!)

Prof. A Mwakikoti: I know a few people especially in the United States of America who I link and interact with once in a while. A couple of non-believers where I have an active membership include Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), and American Humanist Association, both based in the USA. Through my membership, I receive monthly publications and I have attended some of their annual conferences. I think it is very important to research, for example in Tanzania, to know Atheists in the nation, notwithstanding the fact that in the census, Mwalimu Nyerere said there was no need for asking people their religion; saying it was the work of those religious leaders to know their believers. But then, is this a valid reason? What harm could such information be to the Nation if that question is asked? Nonetheless, JICHO JIPYA could devise its own research to collect data useful for other reasonable purposes in society. Jicho Jipya has started a link to reach out to those that maybe freethinkers. By interacting with people in other organizations, such as human rights, we might find freethinkers there. When we find them, we should devise ways of continuing interacting as family members by using such means as WhatsApp, occasional face to face meetings, et cetera. We can learn so much from others, whether they be long-term freethinkers, or new freethinkers.

12) As a Freethinker what is your advice on how to promote Science and Technology from both formal and informal sectors?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: Science and Technology and other aspects of education for the benefit of the country should be critically studied and then, from strategic planning, evaluate where they fit in that long-term planning. Education should be for the benefit of society, not just for education’s sake. I mean, any meaningful education should have a plan of how it will benefit society, both to a student as well as to the society at large. Without critical investigation and planning, society may end up graduating students in the same disciplines and not getting hired or empowering graduates to become entrepreneurs. Education of any kind should be pragmatic, and learners should know its practical application from the moment they set foot on their educational journey. Moreover, unused education upon graduation, is a waste of resources, worse than the uneducated. Specifically, Science and Technology is the game of the day, we cannot leave without it and it should be promoted. And you are right, this promotion should be applied to both formal and informal sectors. Science and Technology in the formal sector, should be pragmatic with aspiration for further discovery through research. But it is also noteworthy to say that there are many young Tanzanians with inborn-ingenuity who have low education and or never went to school at all. Amazingly, these young people have discovered various types of things many of us are unaware of. A good example is our own member of the Jicho Jipya, Mr. Ntubanga Beleng’anyi – who built a working a car galimoto from scratch. Such individuals should be given incentive and encouragement to continue in their creativity.

13) On your opinion as a Freethinker, do you think there is a need to have villages that incubate and support science and technology, like it was for that highly successful Isansa village at Mbozi for cooperative farming and animal husbandry then, a “Silicon-valley like” for Tanzania? Or as per ideas of late Prof. Shayo who had been dreaming to have such one…?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: I am less familiar with the project of Isansa village in Mbozi, but the general idea of incubation and support of science and technology is a critical one. But even before that; one should ask the question as to why we need science and technology—to what end results? Have we done any feasibility studies that if we educate a thousand of young people, a certain percentage will be hired in given industries that we know for certain we have that need, and another percentage will begin their own businesses in science and technology? If we have not gathered any data, then why should we move blindly into such education? We live in a technological age where it is possible to find out possible outcome on almost anything before investing our energy and money into it.

Jichojipya Think Anew response: Isansa was a village that Mwalimu Nyerere was proud of, seeing it is a modal community that envisaged his ideas/ideals for a successful & prosperous Ujamaa village, done on self-reliance and cooperation basis. It was in Mbozi District in Mbeya Region.

14) Sir, Books are said to be the nutrients of the brain, as a freethinker, what are your suggestions on what can be done to promote book reading habit to become a culture in Tanzania, beyond reading for passing examinations? And at a personal level, what book, which one or two inspired you to be a fearless independent minded that you came to be…?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: Indeed, reading habits are cultivated and do not come automatically. It could be my assumption, but I think Tanzanians read quite a bit. Today, there are several ways one can read many books with easy. The habit of reading books mostly by young people seem to be disappearing in many societies, and yet, it is through reading books that we learn more about a variety of things in society. If reading books sounds a boredom activity, one can listen to audio books while performing other tasks such as walking or driving. On a personal level, the Bible is one of the books that pushed me out of Christianity. Seriously. The contradictions that are found there can be enough to push one out of faith. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens, and Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why by Bart D. Ehrman, were my first books to read and brought about a great relief from my years of struggle in Christianity. Henceforth, I have read several books from a number of great authors. Reading books is comforting, it builds up and helps clarify many questions that a Freethinker always seeks answers from.

Jichojipya – Think Anew response: This here is a book that late elder Kingunge told us when he read it, he discovered who created the gods…human beings…it’s by Ludwig Feuerbach Essence of Christianity, it reads at the back thus, “Did God create man? Or did man create god”?

15) What is your comment on the theory of evolution, The Origin of Species on the book by Charles Darwin?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: I personally think evolution and the origin of species as described by Charles Darwin makes more sense than the speculative beliefs without science, such as the existence of a god. By the way, as a sociologist and a nonbeliever, I subscribe to the fact that man-made gods in many societies in their own images.

16) (As a freethinker do you think it is important to study comparative religions despite the fact that you are a non-believer yourself?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: Studying comparative religion, in my approximation, is a sound concept if you are an analyst and or a debater on religions. Such knowledge helps to understand people and their beliefs better, leading to better awareness as you comprehend their perspectives. Even when I was a pastor, I encouraged members to read and know other religions—but my motive then was to learn how to debate and defeat people from other religions or denominations. I do not regret my journey that took me into theological education. Looking back, I know it helped me question religion and Christianity even more. Moreover, studying different religions helps in understanding their followers better, and in turn, succors in communicating with them.

17) As a freethinker, what are your comment on “hero-worship”? When shall we start being “Students” of Mwalimu (and good one at that!) instead of continuing being ritual disciples – Meaning how should we look on Mwalimu philosophically, critically, instead of, as it seems now, as a political saint to be Canonized, “Mtawa”?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: Freethinkers are to always approach anything with a critical mind. When we venerate individuals to a state of worshiping them, we are no different from those who created all these gods in their societies. Great leaders should be respected and modeled after when we analyze and see what they have contributed to our learning, so is the case of someone like President Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere. With great respect I have for Mwalimu Nyerere, he was apt to making mistakes and he admitted it. While he is commendable for the great accomplishment he did in our country, Tanzania, we should study and analyze those things that we can emulate and toss away those we know are no longer applicable to our society today; or perhaps, leave them in museums.

Jichojipya – Think Anew response: Yes, Mwalimu Nyerere by his various teachings through speeches and writings showed that society is dynamic, it must keep changing to meet new challenges. He even advised the church back in 1970s to be open to new ideas for social changes, saying development meant rebellion – his 1970 speech: “The church and society” delivered to the Maryknoll sisters conference, New York USA). He himself initiated several major social changes. There is no point in “dogmatizing” Mwalimu, he was progressive and versatile.

18) (a) Now basing on your experience of lifetime as a freethinker, when facing life crisis people with religions go to seek solace, consolation or counseling in churches or mosques or traditional healers and even diviners. Now for you a non-believer, where do you go for that? Is it not a heavy burden for you? How have you managed to cope with that solitude throughout and remain sane?

(b) And as a Freethinker, do you think it is a good idea for a freethinker to write a will so that he/she should not be buried with religious rituals, but be laid to rest just as they lived his/her freethinker’s life?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: Fortunately, even when I was a Christian, I never considered going to someone or organization for consolation, even though I would ask if others needed my assistance in when facing situations that required solace and counseling. I confided my concerns to a few friends, many of whom turned away from me when I rotated to be a freethinker. I have been asked a close related question as to what preparations I need to do before facing death, especially that I am an unbeliever. It really does not bother me, because I believe this is the only life I have, there is not any after life.

I think a freethinker should write a will to reduce the apprehension family members may encounter, wondering what to do with you after you die, even if your will may not be taken seriously by those who remain, especially if they themselves are believers. If they do not want to follow my suggestions, let them do what they please, it will not change who I am. After all, I will be dead.

An Interview to a Tanzanian Emeritus Professor Alex L. Mwakikoti on Living Without a Religion and More 3 Scott Douglas Jacobsen In-Sight Publishing

Jicho Jipya – Think Anew Logo.

Jichojipya-Think Anew response: There is a need for freethinkers to start meeting and socializing from time to time, this will overcome the lonesome isolationism that each one experience. The late elder Kingunge advised us to do exactly that. We must build a community of freethinkers supporting one another as human animal social being. More so there is an idea of introducing Humanist Celebrants here, it will give alternative to those individuals (Freethinkers and anyone else) who would prefer to do civil marriage backed by a non-religious celebration. Same as coming out celebration (alternative to church baptism) for ones’ kids. And if one left a written will for burial, it is indeed possible to be born, grow up, live, marry, get old, die and be buried without a religion or its strings attachments. The Freethinkers though few in this society, need to start a community for that now. The Late Elder Kingunge Ngombale Mwiru in fact, advised us to start meeting regularly, from time to time. That now stands as “wosia” – his final & parting word to us.

19) Okay, finally for today, you have lived a long life as a freethinker non-religious person, what is the “secret” for your living such long and useful life? Any last word you would want to say that can empower freethinking ‘young Africans’ to learn from you . . . Warrior for the life of ‘living without religion’?

Prof. A Mwakikoti: First, about ten years as a Freethinker is not a long time. But for this short time of being a Freethinker, I am very grateful I became. I found freedom in being a Freethinker, freedom from being controlled as a “slave” of religion for about fifty years. Secret? I do not know if there is one. But I know that living oneself in the fullest fearless life is one way of being a successful Freethinker. Avoid feeling the need to convert others to your fold, rather, live a good life without god, and others will seek you out and find more about who you are and what you believe. As I said before, young people are the champion of social change, they should devise their own personal ways of running their critical thinking freethinker’s ways of approaching life happenstances.

                                      THANK YOU VERY MUCH PROF. ALEX MWAKIKOTI

An Interview to a Tanzanian Emeritus Professor Alex L. Mwakikoti on Living Without a Religion and More 4 Scott Douglas Jacobsen In-Sight Publishing

Galimoto’kali car.

We feel honoured and privileged to have this rare philosophical based interview with you Emeritus Professor, the same way, same degree, same depth we had with late elder eminent Kingunge Ngombale Mwiru. Thank you so much sir.

Please, follow up Jichojipya-Think Anew on our social media sites, as we work to identify, unearth and connect Tanzanian freethinkers. These rare individuals who have self-studied, helped by book reading habit, to have figured out and came out of the closet to tell and show society that, it is indeed possible to live ethical good life as Eupraxsophers…that is Rationalists, Empiricists, Modernists, Secularists, Humanists without supernaturality including that of religion. Thank you all. Next interview coming soon. Its Nsajigwa I Mwasokwa (Nsajigwa Nsa’sam) and Lucas A Isakwisa for jichojipya-Think Anew.

Books that have accompany this interview: (1) Eupraxsophy – Living without religion by Paul Kurtz,
(2) Tanzania 1977 constitution of 2005, (3) Essence of Christianity by Ludwig Feuerbach.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Teacher, Historian, Lawyer, and an Advocate of the High Court in Tanzania; Founder, JichoJipya.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 8, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Mwakikoti.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Mwasokwa I, Isakwisa A An Interview to a Tanzanian Emeritus Professor Alex L. Mwakikoti on Living Without a Religion and More [Online].March 2019; 1(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Mwakikoti.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Mwasokwa, N. I., Isakwisa, L. A. (2019, March 8). An Interview to a Tanzanian Emeritus Professor Alex L. Mwakikoti on Living Without a Religion and MoreRetrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Mwakikoti.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): MWASOKWA, N.I.; ISAKWISA, L.A., An Interview to a Tanzanian Emeritus Professor Alex L. Mwakikoti on Living Without a Religion and More African Freethinker. 1.A, March. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Mwakikoti>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Mwasokwa, N.I., Lucas A. Isakwisa, Isakwisa. 2019. “An Interview to a Tanzanian Emeritus Professor Alex L. Mwakikoti on Living Without a Religion and More.African Freethinker. 1.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Mwakikoti.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Mwasokwa, N.I., Lucas A. Isakwisa “An Interview to a Tanzanian Emeritus Professor Alex L. Mwakikoti on Living Without a Religion and More.African Freethinker. 1.A (March 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Mwakikoti.

Harvard: Mwasokwa, N. I. and Isakwisa, L. A. 2019, ‘An Interview to a Tanzanian Emeritus Professor Alex L. Mwakikoti on Living Without a Religion and More, African Freethinker, vol. 1.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Mwakikoti>.

Harvard, Australian: Mwasokwa, NI & Isakwisa, LA 2019, ‘An Interview to a Tanzanian Emeritus Professor Alex L. Mwakikoti on Living Without a Religion and More, African Freethinker, vol. 1.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Mwakikoti.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Mwasokwa, N. I. and Isakwisa, L. A. “An Interview to a Tanzanian Emeritus Professor Alex L. Mwakikoti on Living Without a Religion and More.” African Freethinker 1.A (2019):March. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Mwakikoti>.

Vancouver/ICMJE:Mwasokwa NI and Isakwisa LA An Interview to a Tanzanian Emeritus Professor Alex L. Mwakikoti on Living Without a Religion and More [Internet]. (2019, March; 1(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Mwakikoti.

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© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and African Freethinker 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Interview with John Collins on William Marrion Branham (Part One)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 19.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fifteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: March 8, 2019

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 4,017

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

John Collins is an Author, and the Webmaster of Seek The Truth. He discusses: William Marrion Branham and his influence; Branham being considered a fraud and cult leader or cult-like leader; ways in which cults or cult-like groups grow; followers of “The Message” extricating or removing themselves from it; and ways to help those individuals or groups trapped in it.

Keywords: author, Christianity, faith healing, John Collins, Seek The Truth, The Message, webmaster, William Marrion Branham.

An Interview with John Collins on William Marrion Branham: Author & Webmaster, Seek The Truth (Part One)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: We talked before. Let’s reboot the context, in brief, who was William Marrion Branham? Why was he influential? 

John Collins: Yes, thank you for having me back again!  It’s good to go a bit deeper than we did last time, and I think expanding upon the context we had before will be beneficial.  So much information has surfaced since our last conversation that a reboot will help open the door to many topics that are virtually unexplored.

William Marrion Branham was an American “faith healer” recognized for his participation in the Post-World War II Healing Revival that began in the mid-1940s and lasted through the 1950s.  It is believed by some that he initiated the revival when his “gift of healing” led to a series of revivals in mid-1946 and that his healing campaigns spawned the modern Charismatic movement.[i]  Understanding why he was influential requires an in-depth look into the mechanics of how he was influential.  Specifically, it requires an examination of the stage persona that Branham created to influence a nation during an extremely vulnerable time in American history, as well as an examination of the historical timeline of events that created the perfect storm.

Remember, it was a time of fear and unrest.  The Second World War had ended, and many people feared that a third was just around the corner.  With the Second Red Scare and McCarthyism spreading, and the thought of widespread communist infiltration of America was very frightening. [ii]  Trust was a scarce commodity.  The Revivalists offered a break from the mental strain of these fears, even if only for a few hours of an evening or weekend.  From farmers to stock brokers, working class to executives of large corporations, the revivals attracted a very diverse crowd and participation in the revivals was extremely high.  They were more than simply religious meetings; a revival was entertaining and therapeutic, offering a quick release of pressure for those who were about to explode.  Branham was not the only revivalist to preach sermons with themes and titles such as “Letting off the Pressure”.  Revivals with soothing themes were much needed during this time of distress and were highly popular.[iii]

The stage persona that William Branham created for his revival campaigns was specifically designed to appeal to the senses of those who needed a release.  He claimed to be a simple man who spent a large part of his childhood hunting and fishing in the hills of Kentucky[iv], which would have resonated with many people in the rural areas his revivals and marketing material targeted.  His usage of Southern slang words[v] and stories of a Huckleberry-Finn-lifestyle[vi] would have reinforced that feeling among his Southern crowds while appealing to the inner-child of even the most refined members of his crowd from the Northern States.

Towards the end of 1945, William Branham renamed his church from “Pentecostal Tabernacle” to “Branham Tabernacle”[vii] and integrated a new theme into his stage persona by claiming to be a Baptist minister newly interested in the Pentecostal experience.[viii]  On the heels of a series of healing revivals in spring of that same year,[ix] Branham began claiming to have been recently given his “gift of healing” during an “angelic visitation”[x], and created a heartbreaking story describing the events leading up to the “angel”.  This alteration was so successful that Branham would continue to use it for the remainder of his career, only adjusting the stage persona slightly to fit the timeline and fully separate this version from the previous iterations.  It is a stage persona that has been immortalized through the hundreds of his recorded sermons from 1947 to 1965[xi] and propagated through the reproduction efforts of Voice of God Recordings in Jeffersonville, Indiana[xii].

Whether it was a predetermined strategy or a skill that would be developed over time, large portions of Branham’s speeches would be focused upon molding this stage persona into a loveable, trustworthy figure that most Americans could relate to.  When he told of tragic events he endured during his many “life stories”, his description of those events was formatted in such a way that a majority of his crowd could both relate with and emotionally connect.  At the same time, he approached them from a religious platform of “inter-evangelical” [xiii]  or “inter-denominational” [xiv], removing any element of skepticism or critical analysis of his doctrine or symbology.  Listeners had every reason to trust him, very little reason to question him, and no reason to doubt him.  As a result, Branham’s influence was widespread, and his legacy is largely comprised of historical accounts that he himself created for use in his meetings.

2. Jacobsen: Why is he widely considered fraud and leader of a, at least, cult-like movement, which still exists today?

Collins: I cannot speak as to why others may view him as a fraud, but I can speak about the reaction myself and some of my associates have shared as historical information started surfacing that placed many aspects of this religion and stage persona into question.  The religious movement as it exists today has been declared to be a destructive cult by both religious[xv] and non-religious[xvi] groups, and when a former member first encounters critical information, it is often followed by waves of emotion.

There are numerous sects and sub-sects of the “Message”, the religious following of William Marrion Branham.[xvii]  There are also sects of Pentecostalism and other religious cult followings who place value on the doctrines that Branham introduced or re-introduced.[xviii]  Yet in all of their various forms, almost every sect has theology that requires William Branham to be a focal point.  In the more extreme sects, Branham’s stage persona has actually embedded itself into fundamental, core doctrines[xix], and leaders of those sects preach apocalyptic theology that is fully dependent upon William Branham as a means to escape Armageddon[xx].

As I slowly uncovered information[xxi] separating the “William Branham” used as a basis for core doctrine from the historical “William Branham”, and slowly began to distinguish the difference between the elements used for the creation of the stage persona and real life, the word “fraud” would have been tame compared to the other words racing through my mind.  Not only was I unaware that previous, much different versions of his stage persona existed[xxii], I felt as though I had been manipulated into my religious beliefs through deception.  This feeling was exacerbated by the leaders of the movement who had access to this information for decades yet continued to preach doctrines dependent upon the final adjustments to the stage persona while concealing information concerning the earlier iterations.

Once the emotions lifted, curiosity drove me into a research project that would last for several years.  I had to know whether or not William Branham could accurately be considered a fraud.  With information quickly becoming available that offered glimpses into his past and seeing a much different version of history than had been available to us in the movement, I knew that it was quite possible that his intentions were good – regardless of the destructive nature of their outcome.  Was he a fraud?  Or was he simply a good man with a passion for helping people during a difficult time in American history?

Our conversation will be unique, as it is the first time that I’ve had the opportunity to explore these questions in public, and the historical data used to form my opinion is virtually unpublished.

3. Jacobsen: What are the ways in which cults, cult-like groups, and others, can be created, maintained, and even grown over time? What are the tricks of their trade? How is Branhamism a case in point – in Canada, in Australia, in the United States of America, and elsewhere?

Collins: I recently have had the opportunity to work with former members of another Pentecostal cult that has a strong presence in the United States, Mexico, several countries in Africa, and more.  If I were to describe the structural composition of this religious movement to former members of William Branham’s “Message” cult following without mentioning its leader or doctrine, those who escaped Branham’s movement would instantly assume that I was referring to the “Message”.  Yet at the same time, former members of both groups contacted me after watching episodes of “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath”, describing similarities they had identified with the inner workings of Scientology and the cults from which they escaped.  Each time a destructive cult makes headlines in the news after a destructive episode or exposure, members and former members of other cults often notice similarities.

This is a much different experience for current members of a cult as it is for former.  Current members of cults, having been trained to place an unhealthy amount of focus upon their leader, notice the unhealthy level of interest members of the cult making headlines have in their leader.  They experience cognitive dissonance as they try to reconcile the conflicting emotions as they realize their situation is so similar and begin suppressing any troubling similarities while taking mental note of the list of any positive attributes of their own cult leader.

Former members, especially those who recently escaped, are more sensitive to the destructive qualities.  Like the general population who have never experienced a religious cult, they recognize the harm in placing unhealthy levels of reverence, importance, and power in the leader of the movement, but also recognize deeper observations such as similarities in the creation and control of the group they escaped and the group they are observing.

I find it both fascinating and disturbing that the same scenarios can be applied to the creation, maintenance, and growth of destructive cults.  Many cult leaders have emerged after having either experienced or observed the formation and design of other cult followings.  Rev. Jim Jones of Peoples Temple, whose cult following ended in mass suicide at Jonestown, Guyana, was a member of William Branham’s “Message” cult[xxiii] during the time the “Message” was more closely aligned with the “Latter Rain” sect of Pentecostalism. Branham, whose campaign team was comprised of former members from Rev. John Alexander Dowie’s “Zion City” cult, appears to have used many of Dowie’s ideas and theology, including a claim to be the return of “Elijah the prophet” from the Old Testament.  Before starting his own cult following and claiming to be another return of “Elijah”, Rev. Charles Fox Parham purposefully observed both Dowie and Rev. Frank Sandford, who also claimed to be the return of “Elijah”. [xxiv]   Each of these cult leaders, though only loosely connected, share many similarities in the creation and establishment, maintenance and control, and spreading of their religious movements.  All created their religious movements with an open-door policy, claiming participation with other denominations while slowly attracting members out of them.  Over time and as their cults were being established, cooperation was slowly replaced with distaste or even hostility towards the outside groups.  The two-way open door effectively transitioned into a one-way partially-closed door, and the isolationist mindset was established.  Though many different religious cult followings have vastly different origins and beliefs, in their core formation, some level of this transition must occur for them to become destructive.

Once a group of people has placed an unusual amount of control and reverence to a single individual or single group of individuals, i.e. the cult leader(s), and the following has started to become convinced that the leader(s) have supernatural abilities greater than other humans both inside or outside their group, it is difficult to maintain.  The leaders of these movements are, as we know, normal human beings, and are subject to all of the types of problems that exist in humanity.  Not only must they ensure that their followers continue believing in their “gifts” and their “elevated” status, they must prevent the group from critically examining all aspects of their lifestyle.  The group must conform, but they must also be controlled to prevent widespread critical analysis.

Religious cults often manipulate or control behavior patterns, from dress code to entertainment.[xxv]  In movies and in television, similar stereotypical clothing is used to depict a cult, and viewers generally agree that they “look like a cult”.  This is a direct result of creators noticing similarities in the dress code and behavior of religious movements in the news, and their contrast from other members of society.  For people in these groups, it provides a quick-and-easy way to identify members from non-members, but for the leaders, it shifts a great deal of focus away from themselves and onto those who do not conform.

Cult leaders must also limit the amount of information that is available to the group and control the information that has been made available.[xxvi]  Leaders who claim to be “prophets” must only allow information about “prophecies” that appear to have been accurate, while concealing or controlling the perception of information available for “prophecies” that were not accurate.[xxvii]  Healers must avoid letting the group learn of those who continued to suffer or die after being “healed”, those claiming benevolence must conceal their personal finances, and all must conceal or control information that humanizes themselves or their ministries.  This type of control is not limited to external sources.  Every group contains a very diverse set of members, many of which have very curious and analytical minds.  Thoughts and emotions must also be manipulated and controlled to prevent those minds from questioning and exploring to prevent widespread demotivation.[xxviii]

The difficulty in continuing this type of control leads to the outreach programs we see in Branhamism and other religious cult followings.  It is far more effort to maintain this level of manipulation in cities or even countries of origin.  Access to critical information is easily available for local members yet almost non-existent for those on distant shores.  Many religious cults turn to global outreach to grow their following rather than local campaigns to attract new members.

Thankfully, the information age has leveled the playing field.  The digitalization of media archives and social network interaction has managed to bring even the most distant parts of the world together, and the sharing of information has led to mass exodus or implosion of many destructive groups.

4. Jacobsen: How can questioning followers of ‘The Message’ begin to help themselves become extricated from it?

Collins: It is very difficult leaving a destructive cult following, whether it is the “Message” (in its many various forms and leadership) or other.  For many former members, the negative effects were felt for several years.[xxix]  Ironically, the easiest way for most people to break free from these groups is to heed the advice of the cult leaders:  Study the group’s information!  If you are in the “Message”, study the “Message”.  Study the works, history, and legacy of William Branham.  If you are in Scientology, study Scientology!  Study the works, history, and legacy of L. Ron Hubbard.  Don’t limit yourself to study only the filtered information that the cult has promoted or manipulated, study everything from praise to critical analysis.

A member of one of our support groups recently commented, “It’s funny how we study the ‘Message’ more now that we left than when we were in it!”  It is true; many former members find themselves digging through mounds of information to try and piece together the artifacts that explain the last several years or decades of being controlled and manipulated.  At the same time, it is very therapeutic.  Leaning how and why a cult leader created and maintained their following is important but understanding how it directly affected your psychological makeup demystifies the manipulation and control.  It brings release.

5. Jacobsen: How can external agencies, groups, and individuals help those trapped in it?

Collins: There is a huge need for resources of all kinds.  There are as many as 5,000 cults in the United States alone[xxx], and very little information is available for most of them.  Sadly, a great deal of information exists for groups that have tragically ended in mass suicide[xxxi] but was almost non-existent leading up to their destructive event.  Many similar groups, with similar structures and conditions have the same potential outcome, and unfortunately will not be critically examined until their climax.

Counseling is both exhaustive and costly, and many who want to escape or have escaped cannot afford the added expense.  Most of their surplus income and even retirement funds have been given to the cult leaders.  In many cases, the cult was also their primary source of income.  After leaving, former members are starting over in all aspects of life, spiritually, mentally, and financially.

In some parts of the world, former members are clinically diagnosed as having Group Dependence Disorder and are treated for symptoms ranging from significant personal and family impairment to professional and social impairment.[xxxii]  In North America, however, these groups are classified generically in the category of “religion”, and the traumatic issues cult escapees face are dismissed incorrectly as simply a “bad experience with a poor choice in religion.”  It is critical that cult psychology training be required learning for psychologists and counselors, and that resources are available for those already active in their profession.

There is a wide variety of areas in which those wishing to assist in the escape of cult members could assist, from spreading awareness and assisting in educating cult members to contributing towards the much-needed counseling after their escape.  Those wishing to do so can contact us on our website, http://www.seekyethetruth.com.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Author; Webmaster, Seek The Truth.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 8, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-one; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[i] Weaver, John. 2016, Mar 23. The New Apostolic Reformation: History of a Modern Charismatic Movement. p34.

[ii] Heale, M. J. 1998. McCarthy’s Americans: Red Scare Politics in State and Nation, 1935-1965. University of Georgia Press.

[iii] Gatewood, Willard B. 1966. Preachers, Pedagogues, and Politicians: The Evolution Controversy in North Carolina, 1920-1927. UNC Press Books. p39.

[iv] Branham, William. 1951, July 22. Life Story. “We were raised in the mountains of Kentucky”

[v] Branham, William. 1954, Aug 29. I Will Restore, Saith the Lord. “I’m just a Kentucky corn-cracker, with my words of, “hit, hain’t, tote, fetch, carry.”

[vi] Branham, William. 1955, Jan 17. How the Angel Came to Me, and His Commission. “Where I used to trap when I was a boy, had a trap line through there, and go up there and fish and stay all night. Just a little old dilapidated cabin sitting over there, been in there for years.”

[vii] First newspaper announcement of “Branham Tabernacle: 1945, Oct 13. Church Listings. Jeffersonville Evening News. Example listing as “Pentecostal Tabernacle”: Rev. Branham to Leave for Summer. 1940, Apr 29. Jeffersonville Evening News.

[viii] Branham, William. 1951, July 22. Life Story. “When it come mine I said, ‘Billy Branham, evangelist, Jeffersonville, Indiana,’”

[ix] Branham, William. 1945. I Was Not Disobedient to the Heavenly Vision.

[x] Branham, William. 1955, Jan 17. How the Angel Came to Me, and His Commission.

[xi] The Table. Accessed 2019, Feb 3 from https://table.branham.org

[xii] Voice of God Recordings. Accessed 2019, Feb 3 from https://branham.org/en/aboutus

[xiii] Branham, William. 1948, April. The Voice of Healing: An Inter-Evangelical Publication of the Branham Healing Campaigns.

[xiv] Branham, William. 1954, June 20. Divine Healing. “I never joined any denominational church, and I don’t intend to. I intend to stand between the breach and say we are brothers.”

[xv] Jacobsen, Ken. 2009, Jan 19. A Refutation of William Marrion Branham. Accessed 2019, Feb 3 from https://culteducation.com/group/1289-general-information/7839-a-refutation-of-william-marrion-branham.html

[xvi] The Message. Accessed 2019, Feb 3 from http://old.freedomofmind.com/Info/infoDet.php?id=883

[xvii] Message Sects. Accessed 2019, Feb 3 from http://en.believethesign.com/index.php/Message_Sects

[xviii] 2018, Aug 18. Rev. Beniece Hicks, founder of Christ Gospel Church, dies. Accessed 2019, Feb 3 from http://cityofnewalbany.blogspot.com/2018/08/rev-bernice-hicks-founder-of-christ.html

[xix] Example: The Messenger. Accessed 2019, Feb 3 from https://www.messagechurch.com/message/the-messenger/

[xx] The Mystery of the Rapture. Accessed 2019, Feb 3 from https://endtimemessage.info/rapture.htm

[xxi] The Message: The Series. A Historical Look into William Branham’s “Message”. Accessed 2019, Feb 3 from http://william-branham.org

[xxii] Example: Branham, William. 1945. I Was Not Disobedient to the Heavenly Vision. (Branham’s “gift of healing” came by vision in 1945, as opposed to his later stage persona which claimed the “gift” came during an “angelic visitation in 1946: Branham, William. 1954, Aug 9. The Manifestation of Thy Resurrection to the People of this Day. The very day that Israel was declared a nation again for the first time for twenty-five hundred years, that same night the Angel of the Lord sent me out to pray for the sick, the very same time, May the 6th, 1946, the Lord Jesus did that”

[xxiii] Collins, John. Duyzer, Peter M. The Message Connection of Jim Jones and William Branham. Accessed 2019, Feb 3 from https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=65112

[xxiv] Collins, John. 2017. Jim Jones – The Malachi 4 Elijah Prophecy. Dark Mystery Publications.

[xxv] Hassan, Steven. 1988. Combating Cult Mind Control.

[xxvi] Steven Hassan’s BITE Model. Accessed 2019, Feb 3 from https://freedomofmind.com/bite-model.

[xxvii] Example: Branham, William. 1960, Nov 13. Condemnation by Representation. “By the way, Mr. Mercier and many of them are going to take some of these old prophecies, and dig them out, and revise them a little, or bring them up to date, and put them in papers.”

[xxviii] Collins, Glenn. The Psychology of the Cult Experience. 1982. New York Times. Accessed 2019, Feb 3 from https://www.nytimes.com/1982/03/15/style/the-psychology-of-the-cult-experience.html

[xxix] Hassan, Steven. 2012. Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs.

[xxx] Clark, Charles S. Cults in America. Accessed 2019, Feb 3 from http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre1993050700

[xxxi] Example: Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple Search this website. Accessed 2019, Feb 3 from https://jonestown.sdsu.edu

[xxxii] Jansà, Josep, M.D., Perlado, Miguel, PhD. Cults Viewed from a Socio-Addictive Perspective. Accessed 2019, Feb 3 from http://www.ais-info.org/application/uploaded/cults_viewed_from_a_socio-addictive_perspective.pdf

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Interview with John Collins on William Marrion Branham (Part One) [Online].March 2019; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-one.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, March 8). Interview with John Collins on William Marrion Branham (Part One)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-one.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Interview with John Collins on William Marrion Branham (Part One). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A, March. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-one>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “Interview with John Collins on William Marrion Branham (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-one.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Interview with John Collins on William Marrion Branham (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A (March 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-one.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘Interview with John Collins on William Marrion Branham (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-one>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘Interview with John Collins on William Marrion Branham (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-one.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Interview with John Collins on William Marrion Branham (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 19.A (2018):March. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-one>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Interview with John Collins on William Marrion Branham (Part One) [Internet]. (2019, March 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-one.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Interview with Stacey Piercey on Fundamental Human Rights and the Transgender Community (Part Four)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 19.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fifteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: March 1, 2019

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,158

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Stacey Piercey is the Co-Chair of the Ministry of Status of Women Sub-Committee of Human Rights for CFUW FCFDU and Vice Chair of the National Women’s Liberal Commission for the Liberal Party of Canada. She discusses: fundamental rights and freedoms; implementation of fundamental rights and freedoms; the sources of violations of fundamental rights and freedoms; prominent transgender community individuals; real-life impacts of fundamental rights and freedoms denials; expediting the acknowledgment and instantiation of the fundamental human rights and freedoms of trans individuals and the transgender community around the world; and the regions progressing and regressing. 

Keywords: Co-Chair, Liberal Party of Canada, Ministry of Status of Women, Stacey Piercey, Vice Chair.

Interview with Stacey Piercey on Fundamental Human Rights and the Transgender Community: Co-Chair – Ministry of Status of Women Sub-Committee of Human Rights, CFUW FCFDU; Vice Chair National Women’s Liberal Commission at Liberal Party of Canada | Parti libéral du Canada (Part Three)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In terms of the rights arguments, what are the fundamental human rights and freedoms trans individuals and the transgender community deserve as human beings?

Stacey Piercey: I have heard all the reasons over the years as to why I should not have any special privileges as a transgender person. At the time when I began my transition, I didn’t want a handout; I needed a hand up to have equal access and opportunity. I suffered being on the outside of society. It was traumatic to know that I was no longer a human.

I did earn my right to be a woman and the respect that comes with my new gender. It is the law too. The courts can now decide on the concept of what is “gender identity and expression.” When I had to re-establish myself, it was difficult, especially when faced with outright discrimination. I heard the word “no” everywhere I went for years. Then the human rights movement started in Canada because there were many of us with similar problems. We were in a system that was unable to deal with a change in gender. It was a legal nightmare, and legislation was needed.

The government at the time wasn’t ready for me. I had complicated problems. I had issues in establishing my identity, and that held me back. I was in a situation where I was incredibly vulnerable, and people were able to take advantage of me. Today’s standards did not exist five years ago, let alone ten or twenty. I should have received help. Institutions that respect fundamental human rights should welcome us, correct past wrongs, and apologize. We all need to move on. I want to see transgender people in my community. My quality of life depends on the human rights that other people grant me as a transgender individual. I prefer to be equal.

2. Jacobsen: What does the implementation of these fundamental rights and freedoms imply for the wider global culture, especially in terms of their current treatment of trans individuals and the transgender community? 

Piercey: When the government here introduced and implemented transgender human rights, it did send a message of hope to all those who live in fear due to gender identity and expression. They know in Canada, I am considered an equal citizen with protections under the law. The concept has created a ripple effect around the world and, it sure has inspired transgender people to strive for and obtain similar rights in other places.

I believe countries that pursue inclusion policies are acknowledging a problem in society and are attempting to fix it so that all citizens feel safe to live their lives. As more transgender people come out and establish themselves these communities will thrive. I am always discovering new terminologies, identities and concepts as of late. It will take time to see our contribution to society. I know that I do bring a different perspective to the conversation. I find that nations which are progressive can introduce transgender right with ease. Our constitution, here in Canada, allows for human rights protections of groups. We are people. It was a big deal to add those few words to a piece of paper. It was an easy legal step and a problematic political accomplishment at the same time.

3. Jacobsen: What seems like the central set of sources for the violations of the fundamental rights and freedoms of trans individuals and the transgender community?

Piercey: I will speak from my experience. One violation that I deal with is sexism. It is so strange to watch it happening to me. I treat everyone the same. Then I get dismissed sometimes by men, and women do it too. It is never that I am transgender anymore as it is now a grotesquely overpriced bill, an excuse that doesn’t make sense or someone who pretends they don’t know me.

I get discrimination because I am LGBTQ. I see myself as a straight woman. I don’t get that one at all, yet it happens, and that makes me go to a pride parade. I do have great empathy towards others who are stigmatized or suffer to no fault of there own. To have a normal life and to think of retirement would be nice again.

Another form I see is fear of human rights violations, as it makes people nervous. This I when it isn’t about helping the individual solve a problem as it is more about not violating someone’s human rights. Professionals have no excuse as they are trained to do their job respectfully and cannot legally isolate you because they disagree with your gender identity or expression. It is usually an error in judgement, inadequate training and not malicious. I spotted this fight or flight reaction when I had to say, that the problem is, I am transgender.

4. Jacobsen: Who are some prominent trans individuals who truly set the framework of the modern discussion around trans rights and inclusion of the transgender community into the mainstream cultures? 

Piercey: There are many prominent transgender individuals in all aspect of society. I refuse to name anybody. I have a soft spot for all those I met in person. I call them all my brothers and sisters and others. They are leaders in their fields and their communities too. They have all fought their own battles, I have gotten to know many of them well over the years, and they are like family to me.

Here in Canada, it was each one of us that contributed to this human rights fight. It wasn’t a heroic battle. It was about individuals standing up and saying this was wrong. Enough of being taking advantage of because we are transgender. I decided I couldn’t live in fear and I stepped out of the closet. My friends and I all supported each other, and I was never alone.

5. Jacobsen: What are the real-life impacts of the denial of fundamental rights and freedoms of trans individuals in countries around the world? 

Piercey: It isn’t a difficult concept to have respect for others. Transgender people are easy targets because they are a vulnerable segment of the population. I wouldn’t travel to a place or work where people are not respected. I don’t believe I am alone in thinking this way. Nobody is comfortable supporting oppression of fundamental rights and freedoms. Transgender people are the preverbal canary in the coal mine for human rights around the globe. That is where Canada has had an impact on other countries. We are sharing our message of human rights. They know our story about what has happened here. They are watching and learning this new way of saying yes and resolving issues. Transgender people are out and very proud to be Canadian. They are influencing change in society.

6. Jacobsen: At the level of the United Nations and human rights organizations, and international non-governmental organizations, what could be done to expedite the acknowledgment and instantiation of the fundamental human rights and freedoms of trans individuals and the transgender community around the world? 

Piercey: There are declarations by international organizations that call for fundamental human rights. Governments are changing the laws of their countries to accommodate these protections. Corporations are implementing policies, processes and procedures into everyday operations. I often see now medical advancements, legal victories and the establishment of social supports. Remember there was no infrastructure a few years ago, transgender people were in legal limbo, and nobody had to do a thing; as being neither male or female, could at any time, be used against you. It wasn’t easy, let me tell you.

As a new group of recognized people, we are currently having a conversation about the problems we all had and are now trying to fix them. I have learned more being outside of the transgender community as of late, and I bring that back with me every time I drop back in. It is nice to be accepted so openly by other groups as well.

I think it is exciting times and can’t wait to see how this all unfolds. I do know that you will never solve every problem or grant everyone the same freedom that I currently enjoy. I believe education is vital. This world is getting smaller, and we are becoming one community. That is the future I plan to be a part of as a transgender person.

7. Jacobsen: In terms of fundamental rights and freedoms, what regions are progressing? Why? What nations are regressing? Why? 

Piercey: I can say that some nations are receiving more media attention dues to legal battles, policy debates and integration issues because of their transgender citizens. I think Canada is a leading example in comparison to some conservative-minded governments. Those tend to struggle more with human rights, valuing social policy and understanding inequality.

I know the younger generation that I met have less of a problem with gender identity or expression than what I remember from growing up. I recently read that twenty percent of the population now identifies as LGBTQ. That is double from what I ever heard. It blew my mind for a few minutes. I expect significant change in the years to come, and I am not worried about it. You can’t stop progress.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Co-Chair – Ministry of Status of Women Sub-Committee of Human Rights, CFUW FCFDU; Vice Chair National Women’s Liberal Commission at Liberal Party of Canada | Parti libéral du Canada; Mentor, Canadian Association for Business Economics.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 1, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-four; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Interview with Stacey Piercey on Fundamental Human Rights and the Transgender Community (Part Four) [Online].November 2019; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-four.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, March 1). Interview with Stacey Piercey on Fundamental Human Rights and the Transgender Community (Part Four)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-four.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Interview with Stacey Piercey on Fundamental Human Rights and the Transgender Community (Part Four). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A, November. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-four>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “Interview with Stacey Piercey on Fundamental Human Rights and the Transgender Community (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-four.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Interview with Stacey Piercey on Fundamental Human Rights and the Transgender Community (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A (January 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-four.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘Interview with Stacey Piercey on Fundamental Human Rights and the Transgender Community (Part Four)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-four>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘Interview with Stacey Piercey on Fundamental Human Rights and the Transgender Community (Part Four)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-four.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Interview with Stacey Piercey on Fundamental Human Rights and the Transgender Community (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 19.A (2018):January. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-four>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Interview with Stacey Piercey on Fundamental Human Rights and the Transgender Community (Part Four) [Internet]. (2019, January; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-four.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Witchcraft Belief and the Killing of Children in Tanzania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge

Numbering: Issue 1.B, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: February 22, 2019

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,924

ISSN 2369-6885

Keywords: children, Dar es Salaam, killing, Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge, Tanzania, witchcraft.

Witchcraft Belief and the Killing of Children in Tanzania, East Africa[1],[2]

Nyambanitu Scott Douglas Jacobsen In-Sight Publishing African Freethinker

From January to February this year  2019, it has been reported that around 10 children have been killed in Njombe Region in South West (aka Southern Highlands) Tanzania, for some children, their bodies had been found thrown at the forest nearby, with their pharynx part of the throat in their neck cut, and or private parts missing. Rumors from ordinary citizens there say these ongoing killings occur because the killers need private parts and human blood for rituals. It is because of witchcraft beliefs that they will use for making them rich, successful in business and political achievement since this year 2019 is a year for local government elections and next year 2020 there will be a general election. Therefore it is said and believed by those ordinary people that probably these children killings may be connected to these rising political temperatures by politicians, but these are just hearsay information, it should not be considered as official ones. However, the government of Tanzania through its different departments concerned has been releasing official information about this sad saga. For instance The Regional Police Office  in Njombe Region  through the Regional Police Commander (R.P.C.)  issued  an official statement that confirmed the killings of ten children in the Region in these past few days of January 2019, and the Police force is  apprehending about 28 suspects in relation to the crime, and the investigations are still going on, that the Police force in the Region is doing its  best to make sure the situations return to normal.

The Regional Commissioner of Njombe Region has come out in public to condemn the killings, saying the causes of these killings are witchcraft beliefs, whereby the murderers believe that they can use dead human body parts to get rich and breakthrough in business while some of them believe they will be successful in their political carriers. The Legal and Human Rights Center based in Dar es Salaam (L.H.R.C. ) a Non-Governmental Organization advocating for Human rights in Tanzania issued a statement of condemning this killing because it is a violation of Human Rights. The Spokesperson of the organization added that Human rights reports in Tanzania indicate that prior to every General Election here, a year towards, terrible killings happen and once elections are over the situation returns to normal. Therefore the organization’s statement somehow connects this butchery with some political ambitions, though that spokesperson did not say directly that the killings are connected to the upcoming General Election, she said experiences through Human rights reports do indicate so.
She further said that in the first half of the year 2018 from January to July 2018, nearly 6373 children have been the victim of acts of torture – “Vitendo vya ukatili” – here in Tanzania. This is according to their Human rights report which compiled the status of Human rights in Tanzania from July 2017 to July 2018.

The Inspector General of Police of Tanzania had an official visit to Njombe Region where the killings happened as a head of Police force in Tanzania. While in Njombe the I.G.P. said the causes of these killings is Witchcraft Beliefs, that through the dead bodies those Killers and those who sent them may use some parts of the dead and their blood for rituals to get rich and success in life. He further warned that The Police Force will make sure that those responsible will be brought to Justice, because they are criminals. The IGP further added that there is a need for the Police force as an institution to start a campaign of giving education to the public telling them that witchcraft beliefs are outdated in this 21st century, that they are no longer valid for making someone be either political or business successful. The IGP asked other sectors and professionals to join their efforts and air their voices to condemn this barbaric acts and get involved to educate the public to abandon this witchcraft beliefs of killing one another, for the expectations of being rich through taking away the life of innocent citizens.

Forest Scott Douglas Jacobsen In-Sight Publishing African Freethinker

In the Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania at Dodoma central Tanzania where the Parliamentary session is going on, members of the Parliament got a chance to ask the Government about such saga and measures taken by the Government.  The Government through the Minister of Home affairs admitted about the occurrence of the killings of 10 children in Njombe Region, the Minister told the Parliament that the Governments is making efforts to make sure that the situations return to normal. The Minister further insisted that causes of such killings are not only witchcraft beliefs but also it is due to some kind of revenge between one family and clans, however, the ministry of home affairs has already sent a special team of experts from the Police force for further investigation on the matter.
On another development, the chief of Wabena people, the ethnic of Njombe has come out too and condemned the atrocities. He says the area has never experienced such acts before. On his part, he says he and his team associates (that includes traditional medicine men – “Waganga asilia” and the paramilitary – “Polisi jamii” / “Mgambo”) will do everything on their part to make sure such incidences do not happen again, saying they will also pray traditional way in the forest. He added that this recent incidence might have been caused by the emergence of unchecked charlatans who were playing tricks, in Swahili “Mazingaombwe”, claiming to heal or do divination to people in that way. In Tanzania, the Chiefs have no formal role to play as the government abolished chiefdom-ship far back soon after independence in the 1960s, to centralize power to the monolith central government but they are recognized informally as influential bodies traditional-wise and are consulted, get involved at such times of crisis.

This whole situation has caused a general panic to the people, locals of Njombe. There are fear and suspicion. People close their business early, everyone forced to guard, escort their young ones, to and from schools. There has developed suspicion to any stranger seen close to the children, also incidences of mob justice for any suspected, and it has backfired to the point where good Samaritan cannot help a child in need, fearful that his helping hand might be seen as wanting to take the kid away. This was pointed out by one taxi driver. On the other side, children have been told to run away from any stranger approaching them, even those who might want to help them. It has become a catch 22 situation.

Rocks and Water Scott Douglas Jacobsen In-Sight Publishing African Freethinker

During the burial of some of those kids in different occasions, the church pastors came with sermons that “there are those healthy and energetic individuals who don’t want to work, they simply want a short cut to be a success”. That “these are the ones causing trouble and miseries to others”. Another pastor said education was the cause – lack of it. He went further and asked the people to adopt “Kupanga uzazi” –  Swahili for spacing in their matrimonial relations so that they bring in to the world children they can afford to send to schools for education – implying ending up not believing in superstitions. Njombe is the area zone where Christianity Lutheran church from Germany was first established in the area during colonial (Germany) times over 100 years ago.

It is becoming a trend In Tanzania to witness abnormal killings of human beings in recent years. For instance some few years ago Tanzania has been infamous for Albino killings due to witchcraft beliefs and it was thought that Albino body parts could be used to make rituals to make someone get rich. Also, events of killings and taking away human skins, for rituals which were thought could make someone rich, but that wave went away. Again another wave came where older women with red eyes (the result of lifelong firewood use for cooking – its smoke affecting the eyes of women) were being suspected and got killed in large numbers the areas of Sukuma Land in the lake zone Regions of Mwanza and Shinyanga. Currently early this year it is now the killings of children in Njombe – southwestern Tanzania.

The Freethinkers secular Humanists organization in Tanzania Jichojipya-Think Anew on its part says that this scourge has to stop now. The society must be educated on the better and modern scientific methods of how anyone can become successful, be it in politics or business, in the normal rational /civil way without supernatural and irrational believes associated with these sacrifice killings. More so Jichojipya thinks it should be supported so that it embarks on a program to re-educate the society to rethink on its supernatural beliefs, and embrace rationalism, scientism, positivism and humanism outlooks in interpreting everyday phenomenon in the society and in nature.  It is time overdue, a herculean (hitherto pending) task that must be done. Let us all do something…re-educate the populace away from irrational and supernatural thinking. That needs to start NOW.  We all be the solution to this part of human barbarity of the 21 century, that very age of predominance of scientific explanations and technological breakthroughs…ooh what a paradox!?

Lucas is a Teacher, Historian, Lawyer, and an Advocate of the High Court in Tanzania.
Email- isamwaka01@gmail.com. +255754326296

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Teacher, Historian, Lawyer, and an Advocate of the High Court in Tanzania.

[2] Individual Publication Date: February 22, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/witchcraft.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Mwakalonge I. Witchcraft Belief and the Killing of Children in Tanzania, East Africa [Online].February 2019; 1(B). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/witchcraft.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Mwakalonge, I. (2019, February 22). Witchcraft Belief and the Killing of Children in Tanzania, East AfricaRetrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/witchcraft.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): MWAKALONGE, I. Witchcraft Belief and the Killing of Children in Tanzania, East Africa African Freethinker. 1.B, February. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/witchcraft>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Mwakalonge, Isakwisa. 2019. “Witchcraft Belief and the Killing of Children in Tanzania, East Africa.African Freethinker. 1.B. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/witchcraft.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Mwakalonge, Isakwisa “Witchcraft Belief and the Killing of Children in Tanzania, East Africa.African Freethinker. 1.B (February 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/witchcraft.

Harvard: Mwakalonge, I. 2019, ‘Witchcraft Belief and the Killing of Children in Tanzania, East Africa, African Freethinker, vol. 1.B. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/witchcraft>.

Harvard, Australian: Mwakalonge, I. 2019, ‘Witchcraft Belief and the Killing of Children in Tanzania, East Africa, African Freethinker, vol. 1.B., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/witchcraft.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge. “Witchcraft Belief and the Killing of Children in Tanzania, East Africa.” African Freethinker 1.B (2019):February. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/witchcraft>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Mwakalonge I. Witchcraft Belief and the Killing of Children in Tanzania, East Africa [Internet]. (2019, February; 1(B). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/witchcraft.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and African Freethinker by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and African Freethinker 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Shutting Down Speech, Secular Activism, and Cherished Ideologies (Part Four)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 19.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fifteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: February 22, 2019

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,037

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Yasmine Mohammed is an Author and the Founder of Free Hearts, Free Minds. She discusses: shutting down speech; secular activism; and cherished ideologies.

Keywords: FHFM, Islam, Ex-Muslim, Yasmine Mohammed.

Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Religion, Fundamentalist, and Denominations of the Left (Part Four)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview was conducted in early 2018.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Some of the individuals, it is not a pervasive phenomenon, but it is individuals who typically would be the centrist or center-right. They cannot be in a platform, for instance.

They are given a platform that is revoked, or they shut it down. There is at least a modicum of truth there that is not being allowed to be said. That someone is succeeding in winning in not being said.

Yasmine Mohammed: Because the narrative is being disrupted, the narrative is minorities are beautiful. People that need to be protected. That is it. If you say anything other than that, you are a racist bigot and Islamophobic, Nazi, blah blah blah.

Jacobsen: Even the value, it is a good value: tolerance and protection of the vulnerable.

Mohammed: It is. This is what I am saying. If liberals understood what they were doing, they would not be doing it. The problem is they do not understand what they are doing. They do not realize that they are supporting.

They think they are supporting a minority and an oppressed group, but they are not. They are supporting the oppressors. When you support the conservatives, the powerful rich theocracies, when you support Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood; they are not being oppressed.

It is the women and the LGBT community, the atheists, and all of these people that are under those people that are being oppressed. It is ridiculous.

Jacobsen: It is also an image thing. We allow it as a culture, not a single person, but as a general phenomenon, so we were talking about fifteen, twenty minutes ago, about the Muslim Brotherhood.

You were saying their century-long plan. They are checking off most of their boxes. Their ‘centennial imperial strategy’ that then becomes a message. Their success sends with us sends a message to them. That we are sufficiently indifferent. That we are going to do your dirty work for you.

Mohammed: It is working beautifully. Another one of their plans. I watched it happen. So, it is an old strategy, divide and conquer. So, old, it has been done. You will think that we would see it a mile away.

When the Black Lives Matter thing happens, I was thinking, “No, there it is. The next line in the strategy. The divide and conquer here it is, it is happening.” But it did not take, everybody was thinking, “My God, civil war is going to happen, black versus white.”

It did not happen, but what ended up happening instead is the Right vs. Left. That is working like a charm. So, if you look back at the media that was pushing things, remember those little videos all the time the AG+ and Vice and Vox and whatever pushing all of the white guilt, pushing all of the Black Lives Matter stuff too, those media like AG+.

What is that? It is Al Jazeera who is funding all of this propaganda that is going through to the millennials and tugging at their heartstrings playing exactly they said they would. What do you have in Germany? People holding up signs, “Refugees welcome.”

Little kids with sandwiches and bottles of water being given to the refugees as they are walking in. They are using the good nature of these people against themselves they are using the white guilt. They are using the guilt of the Germans, especially, because they have a lot of guilt.

Germany was so easy to take over because German people they want too self-flagellate. They want to somehow repent from their past sins, so this is how they help to achieve it. So, they understand all of this.

They know all of this. They get how Western minds work. They understand history. They understand and it is a joke. It is a joke. it is so easy. Taking over Egypt, that is hard. That was their first job. They succeeded because Egyptians are hardcore.

Arabs, in general, they are not in the West. There is no grey area. This is about Arab people. They are black or white. You are in or out: yes-no. If they are going to be a Muslim, they are going to be a hardcore Muslim.

They are going to fly a plane into a building, no problem. That is the way they are so it was difficult to change those minds because they are not open-minded, grey area, wishy-washy people, but they succeeded with the more difficult task.

The West, the mindset of the Liberal values, Enlightenment values, Western values, this idea of equality and all of that stuff. That is easy. There is a thing that they say where they laugh at Jesus because it is mostly a Christian mindset over here.

They laugh. They say things, “Turn the other cheek, so I can chop off your head.” Muslims think of this as Western people. This is all a weakness. The fact that everybody is so good. Help your neighbor, all of this hippy Christian stuff – that is hilarious to them. They are like, “You guys are no problem…”

We are proving them right. Especially if you look at Canada, how we bend over? Someone wants a Bible study in a classroom. We say, “Absolutely not, get the Lord’s Prayer out.” But I want to have a Friday worship and have a congregation: “No problem, of course, absolutely: here is an empty classroom you can use. Oh no worries, nobody is going to keep an eye on what you are saying or what you are doing.”

When I start to think about it, it is quite depressing. It makes me feel I want to move to South America.

Jacobsen: The first case is removing a religious murmuring, statement, or prayer from a public setting. People paying public tax money for that are right. Many of them will probably be non-Catholic, at least, so that is a secular thing.

That is the appropriate thing to do within our values.

Mohammed: Yes, it is.

Jacobsen: But then to allow the others are against that value. It is not that it makes me uncomfortable. It is a violation of a standard, not a norm, but of a standard that is set, that is derivative from the values that we hold.

Mohammed: We need to be unapologetic about our values. We have come to this doubt of progress, not easily. We had to fight for it. People have lost their lives for it. People have suffered for us to enjoy this. Why are we allowing the past to come back and haunt us again?

Jacobsen: Also, religion is young. There is tribal get together. Those are super old, but some religions are four thousand or six thousand years old, tops. This is especially important for things that are new: women’s rights and human rights.

They have barely existed in robust present form for a century or two. This is a particular risk we have been emphasizing. We have had two millennia to fourteen hundred years. How have they been for women? Maybe, a mild argument can be that for the time they were some progressive things, maybe, but not for now.

Mohammed: 6th century.

Jacobsen: Right but now my feeling based on rough knowledge on things is that women’s rights are new and, therefore, fragile, the intervention of this worldview is destabilizing to them.

Mohammed: Totally, and what you are saying is so true, that is what makes me nervous because they are so much hardened and experiences and set. They are in a better position than we are. Christianity in the West anyway. It is being castrated. It is not going to, but Islam is not.

Islam is young and verdant, strong and successful, and rich and powerful, politically and economically. It is a real threat and, as you said, our values are fragile and new compared to their values. However, we are always being killed. We never had power, still do not have power.

In only in the past five years, I have been comfortable saying publicly, “I am an atheist.” I have only been comfortable in using that word after even five years. That estimate is probably being generous.

So, for years, I said I was Agnostic or I said, “I am not religious.” You begin to use euphemisms because you do not want people to think that you are some evil hellion that is going to eat their baby. That is Canada, so imagine areas conservative the U.S. or the Muslim world.

Obviously, how much worse it is for an atheist over there, Atheism is considered terrorism in Saudi Arabia now. That is what it is deemed.

2. Jacobsen: So, if we take a conclusive look at the extensive discussion we had over the last few hours, and if we look at the situation, not through the lens of religion, and religion’s contents and countries, what do you see as the future of secularism and religious activism in general?

Mohammed: So, secularism or irreligious people, you were saying. We are scattered all over the place. We are not supporting each other. We haven’t felt the need to glom on to each other. Somehow, we need to form a political party.

But in the same way that religious people have a central authority: let’s say that Catholics, they have the Pope in the Vatican City. Muslims they have Saudi Arabia. They got Mecca, Medina. We are important. We are relevant.

We are a significant number, what we have to say is valuable and important. This is the first time in history that we can say it publicly, in some areas of the world. We can say it publicly and not be beheaded for it.

It is not blasphemy. It is okay. We can finally have a show of strength and if we are able to do that, if we are able to somehow get together and be something, then we will be able to support all of the secular liberal people in the rest of the world, in the areas of the world where they cannot speak up lest they are killed.

So, at least, they will know that there is some central authority that is willing to help them in some way or to support them in some way or at least to know that we exist and that we can be the change we want to see in the world.

We are complaining that liberals have betrayed us because they are not supporting the liberals in these minority groups, in the Muslim world. We can be that instead. We are saying that liberals are treating Christianity in a sum, differently.

They are, atheists can come forward and say, “Fuck all of your religions, we are not going to treat you any differently. We have CFI. We have the American Atheist Association.” We have this, but it is not good enough.

We need something big and strong and loud and united. I do not know how that is going to happen, but that is what we need.

Jacobsen: We need a Judean People’s Front.

Mohammed: I do not even want to say a political party because it is not a specific country. We are humanist.

Jacobsen: It is long term thinking than political thinking is.

Mohammed: It is long term thinking than political thinking, absolutely. So, what is it going to take? Do we need to – somebody was saying we should – all move to Greenland?

Jacobsen: Iceland is number one.

Mohammed: So, maybe, Iceland can be our new Mecca for humanists or something like that.

Jacobsen: Tops the ranking, it has for years for equality for men and women. A study came out saying that 100% of people under 25 said that they do not believe that the world was created by Creator or divine architect.

Mohammed: So, maybe, that is what we need. Maybe, we need Iceland too, but that is what we need in the short term. What we need to do is we need to support people who have our ideas, we should support people based on their ideas, not their identity. That is what we need.

That is the short term solution. It boggles the mind how many liberals will jump down the throat of anybody that says anything about Christianity, but if somebody says something about Islam it is defended. That is the problem, that is what needs to stop.

We need to stop. We need to be able to differentiate between Islam and Muslims as liberals. We should be supporting minorities. Yes, we should be supporting oppressed people. Yes, people are human being’s and not religions.

That, maybe, the problem is that they think Islam is a culture. They think Muslims are a people. Muslims are not people. There are hundreds of countries. It is saying Catholics are a people. There are Italian Catholics. There are Filipino Catholics. There are Mexican Catholics.

They are all over the world, different Catholics. They do not speak the same language. They do not eat the same food. They do not have the same conditions. They are not the same people. They are different ethnic groups. They are different cultures. They share a religion.

Islam is the same thing. If you are going to support Mexicans or you are going to support Italians or you are going to support Filipinos, then that is fine, wonderful, dandy, do that, but do not support Catholicism.

They do not understand the parallels are perfectly clear. It is there, but maybe it is because the issue is that I am born and raised in this stuff. I was born and raised in Canada, but in a Muslim household of Arab culture.

3. Jacobsen: But you also hear the Platonic argument too. Whenever something bad happens within a person’s cherished ideology or worldview plus practice, or suggested practice, they go, “That is not the real [fill in the blank].”

It is Platonic. I do not care about that. How are the people that believe that stuff in general acting? Most are acting decently. However, what is going on?

Mohammed: Communists can say the same thing, right? How many millions of people have to die before you say, “Maybe, this ideology is not so great”?

Jacobsen: Also, some preachers do it to put all burden of responsibility of belief on the follower, which is a beautiful way of doing it, where “You are not praying sincerely enough” or “You do not have the best belief in the faith and so on…”

Mohammed: So, because I was born in a Western world but in a Muslim household, I am able to see the distinction so clearly, but somebody who is American or Canadian and has had no interaction or understanding about the Muslim world or about Islam, or about Muslims.

It is all so foreign. It is also intricate and confusing. So, you can understand how they confuse the religion with the culture, with the people. All of that. They do not get that there are Pakistani Muslims and Egyptian Muslims, Indonesian Muslims. Maybe, they need to understand the difference between people and religion.

4. Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Yasmine.

Mohammed: No problem, Scott.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Author; Founder, Free Hearts, Free Minds.

[2] Individual Publication Date: February 22, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-four; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Shutting Down Speech, Secular Activism, and Cherished Ideologies (Part Four) [Online].February 2019; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-four.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, February 22). Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Shutting Down Speech, Secular Activism, and Cherished Ideologies (Part Four)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-four.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Shutting Down Speech, Secular Activism, and Cherished Ideologies (Part Four). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A, February. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-four>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Shutting Down Speech, Secular Activism, and Cherished Ideologies (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-four.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Shutting Down Speech, Secular Activism, and Cherished Ideologies (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A (February 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-four.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Shutting Down Speech, Secular Activism, and Cherished Ideologies (Part Four)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-four>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Shutting Down Speech, Secular Activism, and Cherished Ideologies (Part Four)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-four.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Shutting Down Speech, Secular Activism, and Cherished Ideologies (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 19.A (2018):February. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-four>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Shutting Down Speech, Secular Activism, and Cherished Ideologies (Part Four) [Internet]. (2019, February; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-four.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Religion, Fundamentalist, and Denominations of the Left (Part Three)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 19.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fifteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: February 15, 2019

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 6,287

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Yasmine Mohammed is an Author and the Founder of Free Hearts, Free Minds. She discusses: Dave Rubin and Colin Moriarty; splits of the Left; concerns for Canada; religions plagiarizing from one another; and demographics, rights, and what to do with fundamental beliefs.

Keywords: FHFM, Islam, Ex-Muslim, Yasmine Mohammed.

Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Religion, Fundamentalist, and Denominations of the Left: Author; Founder, Free Hearts, Free Minds (Part Three)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview was conducted in early 2018.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: So, what are going to be the topics thematically across them that you will be discussing when you are going to be on stage with people like Dave Rubin and Colin Moriarty?

Yasmine Mohammed: That topic for that speaking tour is all free speech, is all going to be about free speech. So, for someone like me who’s coming, as you said, America has won the privilege to speak freely more than any other country.

There is self-censoring with things like Islamophobia and whatever. What is missing, it is for them to be around them. They are focused so much on themselves. A lot of navel gazing going on in the U.S. You would not believe it.

You have the internet. You do not even have any excuse. We are all connected. However, there are so many other parts in the world where people would literally be killed either by the authorities – in Saudi Arabia, you are considered terrorist by the government if you speak out against Islam – or, in countries like Pakistan, where the people in the public will kill you.

You heard about Marshal Khan. He is a university student.

Jacobsen: Yes.

Mohammed: He asked the question, “So if Adam and Eve were the only two humans, does that mean we are all children of incest?” Which is a basic question, I remember asking that as a child. But, “How dare he ask such a question!”

That was so offensive enough for the people that were living in his dorm with him. They stormed his room, broke down his door, attacked him, took him out to the middle of the quad, and beat him to death.

Hundreds of students, that is what happens in those countries. So, when we talk about free speech and people here do not understand the value of it, they do not understand – you said the privilege – they do not understand people have died for us to be able to speak our mind.

I know what it feels like not to be able to speak my mind in my own house. I cannot even have the thoughts in my own head. Anybody that grew up in a repressively religious household would understand what I am saying.

I remember hearing a girl who escaped from North Korea. They are taught that the bugs and the birds, the mice, everybody, reports back to the fearless leader whenever they see them doing anything.

They are also told that he can read their minds, as we are told that God can read your mind. So, you are even afraid to have the thoughts in your own head. I speak to ex-Muslims all the time that are writing to me, then deleting their accounts.

I cannot even respond to them, but they need to get it. They need to say how they feel. They want somebody to hear them because they can never express their opinions on these matters. People born and raised in some areas of the West so removed from the struggle that they do not understand the privilege that they have and then they squander it.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali said, “They spit on freedom because they do not know what it is to not have freedom.” Another said something that was so poignant and perfect. She said, “It is if you have a third generation kid from a wealthy family, where the person that earned the wealth was three generations ago.”

So, you are talking about Paris Hilton or Paris Hilton’s kids. They have no idea what it means to live hand to mouth. They have no idea what it means to work for their money. They have no concept. They cannot have any concept.

So, that is what it feels like when you are talking to some people in the West sometimes about these freedoms and privileges. Those freedoms and privileges that they have. They do not see these reams of privileges. They find reasons to complain. They bitch about mansplaining and manspreading.

How do you – for shame, how do you even consider that feminism when there are women getting their clitorises cut off? There are children, little girls, in China that are being killed. However, your focus is on ridiculous teeny tiny things.

They do not broaden. They do not go around because they are too busy looking at each other. Everyone wants to be oppressed in the States these days. The cool thing to do, right? I would love to give you all of my oppression points.

I would love to trade lives with you and to not have all of this shit to overcome. I would love to. These people want some reason to say, “I am a victim.” You do not understand how lucky you are and instead of appreciating what you have. You are looking for some reasons to claim some victimhood.

Look at Linda Sarsour, talking about how Muslims in American today, because of Islamophobia, they have it worse than the black slaves in the U.S. did!

Jacobsen: That is a stretch.

Mohammed: So, anyway, I could go on and on about this.

2. Jacobsen: To simplify, I want to reflect on both perspectives. One the one hand, you have people concerned about livelihood, wellbeing, so either they are going to be killed or destroyed in some manner, possibly some body parts might disappear.

On the other hand, you have highly developed nations with most of these privileges and rights established. The concerns then become local, prosocial, and limited to their context, where things that would be of mild annoyance. Do not explain: I do not need to have things explained to me that are obvious, or the mansplaining example.

Given the context that people are coming from, they are both valid at the same time. There is legitimacy. You make change relative to your context, but the lack of, at least, awareness of what is going on in other countries, is important and that is the major issue.

Mohammed: Maybe, I should make myself clear. It is important to make myself clear. I am not belittling. Obviously, there is no such thing as a utopia. As human beings, we only grow as we progress. We are always going to have to make things better because that is what we should be doing.

So, yes, let’s always try to make things better, let’s always try to improve our situation, our society, etc., we always have to make things better. My problem is that when those people that are talking about manspreading and mansplaining are standing in the way and prohibiting people that are trying to work on women that are in worst situations.

So, for example, the Far-Left in America. They can be defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Linda Sarsours, the Far-Left, the Hillarys – not always – or the Hillary corner, but that group of people are the same people that will call Ayaan Hirsi Ali an anti-Muslim extremist.

They will shut her down. She was not able to go to Australia and give her talk there because she was called a white supremacist.

Jacobsen: What was the reason given?

Mohammed: Because she is a Nazi. It is a series of slurs. They throw those at a black woman from Somalia, who is a ‘white supremacist’ now. If you say something, if you do not follow the narrative of the Left, therefore, you are a Nazi, white supremacist, Alt-Right bigot, etc.

Jacobsen: It is this branch on the Left.

Mohammed: It is this branch on the Left. However, what I am talking about, if those people on the Left were busy fixing their problems and did not stand in the way of other people fixing their problems, we would be okay.

But instead, when you have somebody talking about women going to prison for being raped in the UAE, the responses from people on the Left are “Now, you are going to be the savior. You are a white man. You do not care about Muslim women.” What?

When they do that thing they are taking the attention away from the woman that is shining a light on this problem, I was born and raised in that world and nobody cared. Nobody cared for so many generations.

It is people in Africa and Asia who are drinking dirty water. Water in our toilets are cleaner than what they have to drink. Nobody gives a shit. Nobody cares because our water is clean, right? That is the way the Islam problem was for so many generations.

Nobody over here cared because it was over there, so it does not affect us. I understand that we cannot solve all of the world’s problems. Obviously, what is happening in North Korea, let it happen over there, we do not care because it is not affecting our daily lives.

However, Islam now is affecting our day to day lives. Islam affects my life as much as it affects your life. So, for the people who are in the Muslim world who are me, they are glad that somebody pays attention.

They are elated when they see Richard Dawkins writing about the atrocities of Islam. They are happy when they see Maajid Nawaz talking about what Sharia law dictates. They are excited that Adam Princely gives a shit, worries about the fact that ninety-percent of them are victims of FGM.

They are like “Yes, finally, somebody is paying attention.” Then you have these Left-leaning liberals come in and saying, “Shoo! That is Islamophobia. Does not talk about that.” You are relegating these people back all of these generations with everyone ignoring them and not caring about the problems that they are having.

Jacobsen: How do they feel when they have that happen?

Mohammed: A hundred-percent betrayed. So betrayed, you would not believe. They are liberals like you and I. So, imagine being in that country, there, everything is about the Muslim world in a general sense because there are over fifty countries there.

If you look at Canada, which is a bad example, let’s look at the USA, most of America is liberal. However, there is a belt of staunchly conservative people but most people are for Western liberal enlightenment values, right?

In the Muslim world, you have to flip that around. In the Muslim world, your majority are staunch conservatives. You have a belt. They do not usually live together. they are usually fractured and hidden all over the place.

This belt is the open-minded liberal secular-leaning people like you and me. Muslims are not atheists, are not Christians. It is irrelevant. I do not care about what their religion is or what their religion is not.

The point is that they believe in liberal values. They believe in human rights. We have that in common. So, those people over there that cannot even speak to each other because if they speak to each other their neighbors might tell their cops on them.

They all end up in prison for terrorism. That person stuck in that world is trying to speak up. They are being silenced by somebody in the West, in a free country, who should be their ally. When you are a liberal person, where do you look?

When you are a liberal in the Middle East or in the Muslim world, where do you look for allies? Liberals or moderates in the West. “Those are the people that will support me.” Instead, what do you find, those people are telling you to shut up because you are racist and you are a bigot and you are an Islamophobic.

It is the ultimate betrayal and treachery. I cannot explain to you how bad that feels for them. We are supporting the Right-wing conservative Muslims. Even Obama, Obama was friendly with the Muslim Brotherhood, right? How?

They are a terrorist organization deemed by Egypt, deemed by Saudi Arabia, deemed by terrorists. If Saudi Arabia is deeming this organization a terrorist organization, they are probably a terrorist organization. Right? So, then, you got Bernie Sanders who is the most Left-wing person possible in the United States congratulating Linda Sarsour.

Sanders is calling her progress. That is what we have. We have the Left-wing, the conservative Muslims. The Left-wing, the conservative Christians would never be aligning: never.

Jacobsen: They have been perpetual enemies.

Mohammed: Perpetual, they should be perpetual enemies with conservative Muslims as well. They should be aligning with liberal Muslims, but they are doing the opposite. They are supporting conservative Muslims. They are ignoring the liberal Muslims.

Jacobsen: As you are noting even with a scattered population, you have seen the same statistics. You probably know more than I do about this stuff. But, in Saudi Arabia, 5% are atheist. They are not a bloc. They are not organized, obviously.

Mohammed: No. No, they cannot even speak to each other. We had Hana Ahmed on our third episode. She said she lived in Saudi Arabia as an atheist for five years without ever speaking a word to anybody about the fact that she was an atheist.

So, she would be one of the people filling in that hole, saying, “I am an Atheist, but that is it.” Five years of being an atheist and never being able to express that. That is how everybody is over there. They cannot say anything. They have Twitter – they have anonymous Twitter; that is what they have. How do Twitter and Facebook act? Shut them down.

3. Jacobsen: What are your concerns in Canada, where the things arise, for instance, such as blasphemy?

Mohammed: Scott! You are getting the blood boiling today.

Jacobsen: You are going to Vegas soon!

Mohammed: Right, I will relax there, in front of the pool. I was not surprised M103 passed. I was born and raised here. I understand my people. It was unanimously passed in Ontario, so that was a bit of a surprise.

The federal one, there was a little bit of pushback. However, for it to pass unanimously in the Ontario Provincial Court, I was surprised because I did not think it was to that extent. That there is to pushback. I do not understand it.

I have discussions from people of the BC Humanist Association, which are supposed to be humanists. People that are clear. They understand, without a shadow of a doubt, that we should not have Christianity in schools, for example.

That we should not have blasphemy. It is not a law, but it is on its way there. If this motion were about ‘Christianophobia,’ BC Humanist Association for one would be up in arms.

These are the people that are fighting against Trinity Western University, rightly so for their LGBT garbage. However, when it comes to Muslims and Islam, all of a sudden their minds do not work. All of a sudden they cannot treat this religion the same as that religion.

All of a sudden they cannot see that a conservative Christian is no different than a conservative Muslim. These are socially conservative people and we should be standing in the way, of either of these people, allowing their values into the public sphere.

4. Jacobsen: One is an Arabic version of the other anyway, right? In terms of the text, it is plagiarized. It is the same thing.

Mohammed: Same thing!

Jacobsen: It is plagiarized.

Mohammed: That is right. It is plagiarized. We would never take a woman in an Amish bonnet and put a Nike swoosh on it or put her on the cover of Elle Magazine or Vogue or Playboy. It is absolutely ridiculous!

How do they not that it is exactly the same thing? What it is, it is bigotry.

Jacobsen: It is successful marketing. There is a separation of ideas and people in one, and not in the other.

Mohammed: Yes, I do not even know how it is successful marketing to be honest because if you look at the statistics. You will find that less than half of one-percent of Muslim women wear the hijab. One-percent of Muslim in the U.S., let’s say half of them are women, less than fifty-percent of American Muslim women wear hijab

So, it is a small minority of people wearing hijab, of Americans wearing hijabs. So, it is stupid for you to spend that money, putting hijabs in all your magazines and putting that Nike swoosh on it and all that stuff. There is no revenue that is going to come to you from this. It is virtue signaling.

That is the only thing you are going to get.

Jacobsen: Also, there is a market for it too. So, a company that does that. That aims to target virtue signification, signifiers. There is a population of reactionaries that go, “Oh, they are socially conscious!”

Mohammed: Nike, they are so nice and non-racist. However, my frustration is, what it is? It is exactly this. It is when Richard Spencer said: “Hail Trump.” Everybody lost their mind, rightfully so, but when Linda Sarsour talks about a jihad on Trump everybody it is: “Ah, do not worry about it, it is a word. Meh, nothing.”

“Hail” is a word too, but these are trigger words. These are words that have meaning. These are words that have history. These are words that have caused significant damage. Why they can only see that word when it is in German and how wrong it is to be using that but they cannot see that when a word is in Arabic is being used, all of a sudden they belittle it.

That is the thing. Shadi Hamid wrote a book called Islamic Exceptionalism. Shadi Hamid by the

way works for the Brookings Institute, is paid by Qatar, so you can know where the money is coming from. He supports the Muslim Brotherhood blatantly.

This is a man is from Egypt, so a man from Egypt supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. I do not even know what to tell you. It is someone from Afghanistan supporting the Taliban. The Brotherhood has wreaked so much havoc in Egypt for generations.

Everybody hates them. Everybody has a family member that was killed by them or tortured by them. It is not far removed for Egyptians as it is for the rest of the world today – if things will change, if we do not change course.

So, Shadi Hamid wrote a book called Islamic Exceptionalism and in it he is talking about how Islam must be treated differently than all other religions. I was like “fuck you,” but you know what: he is absolutely correct. That is what is happening.

What Muhammad wanted, what the Quran wanted, what Islam wants, which is nobody criticizes the religion, it gets treated with a different set of rules than all other religions. It is superior to all other religions. Muslims are superior to all other people.

All of that is happening. It is happening. Freethinking educated people in the West are doing exactly that. When Hamid says there is a fatwa on his head for writing a book, what do we do? Do we condemn the people that are trying to kill this man for writing this book? No, we do not.

When the Charlie Hebdo people got killed for drawing cartoons what did the Left say, they say, “They were being disrespectful. They shouldn’t have been doing that. That was not nice.”

We are self-imposing the blasphemy laws. We are doing exactly what Mohammed wants. We are following it. This is his decree. We are accepting this. We are not Muslim. We do not need to. There are no laws keeping us in place. There are blasphemy laws over there keeping them in place, over here we are free.

But we are choosing not to, out of fear. I do not know, or out of fear or out of indifference, out of naivety. We think, “Ah, those black savages, what harm can they do. The Christians, however, they are scary.”

“The Christians, however, we have to be afraid of them and we have to keep them out our schools and out of our public sphere.” No, you keep the Christians out, and the Muslims out too. It is the exact same thing.

In fact, Christians do not have powerful, rich, filthy rich theocracies behind them, pushing their agenda. So, if we are going to look at it on a global level, Muslims are the bigger threat than Christians. What do we have? The Vatican City, right?

There is no Saudi Arabia. There is no Qatar. Look at this guy making alliances, look at Trump with his Muslim Ban, blah blah blah. What does he do? He goes over there and kisses their butts. These guys are not new at this, but they do see this is the other thing too. Scott, sorry to go on so many tangents, but I have so much to say.

Jacobsen: It is fine.

Mohammed: In the West, we think in four-year spurts. This is the problem. We think in four-year spurts. Our governments only think about getting re-elected or they think about their turn and after that, they give no fucks.

Over there, they can make literally – they have made – hundred-year plans because they are theocracies. They can do that. If you look at the hundred-year plan of the Muslim Brotherhood, you will find that they are doing exceptionally.

All of the boxes are being ticked. Everything that they promised us they would do, step by step, they’re not even hiding it. Everybody, you can go online. You can read their plan. It is all unfolding beautifully and perfectly.

In the 1950s, Anwar Sadat who was the president of Egypt was approached by the Muslim Brotherhood and they told him, “You need to make sure every woman in your country wears the hijab,” and he laughed at them.

The men in parliament were laughing and one man yells out, “Make him wear it.”

But look at Egypt now, they have succeeded. We were laughing at them too. That is the thing. We also scoffed at this dumb uneducated jihadist. They are never going to be able to do it here…look at Turkey! Turkey scoffed at them too.

In 2014, the pride parade was so full that the streets were packed with people, in 2017 being hit with tear gas. Nobody is allowed to march in the pride parade. So, many fits of rage, I have so much to say. They have switched the country.

They are not new to this process. They have done it so much. They did it throughout the Muslim world. They did it in Egypt. They did it in Iraq. They did it in Syria. They did in Libya. They have done it in Afghanistan. They have done it across the whole side of the planet.

Now, they are moving into Turkey. It is following the movements of the Ottoman Empire. So, what happens: remember all of that area that the Muslims had control over, The Ottoman Empire. When they lost, they lost control of the Ottoman Empire. At that point, they had to recede back into the Middle East again.

They sat together in Egypt. They said, “We need to reconvene. We need to realign. We cannot get our land back again through the sword the way we did the last time because the world has changed.”

By now, it is the 1820s. You cannot go with a sword chopping off heads anymore. So, “We have to find a different way to go about getting back our empire. How can we do that?” They decided at that point that they were going to get back their empire by using their government.

Their policies, they use the policies based on the good nature, basically, of the Europeans and the North Americans against themselves. They are going to use democracy and diplomacy against itself. It has worked like a fucking charm.

Then they have people like Tariq Ramadan, who is the grandson of Hassan al-Bana who started the Muslim Brotherhood. People like him were basically the seedlings. He was cultivated, born, and raised in the West.

He understands how to speak to Westerners. He understands how Westerners think. He was the perfect first one. There are so many like him now and Linda Sarsour is another one. She knows how to speak to Americans.

She is all, “Oh, we are all oppressed together. Black people, yay! I am one of you. Native Americans, I am one of you. White men, ugh!” She knows how to get them riled up. She knows how to speak to them in a language that they are going to respond to.

Exactly Tariq Ramadan, the country, the people, the way they think. She got herself in the fucking White House – that is how good they are. Do not forget the millions of dollars that are coming at them from these theocracies in the Middle East.

So, they have a lot of support. They have a lot of brains behind them. They have a lot of policy makers and they have a lot of thinkers. They are not novices at this, by the time they arrive. They have all of the practiced wisdom in the Muslim World.

They made some mistakes. They learned from their mistakes. They kept going. They did a good track record over there. The internet is full of pictures. If you compare Libya in the 50s, Libya today. Iran in the 50s, Iran today. Afghanistan in the 50s, Afghanistan today. any Muslim country you can think of, Google what it used to look like before and what it looks like now.

The 60s, 70s, every country is a different time because by the time they get to them and by the time they infiltrate them. It depends. A country like the Maldives because it is small: fifteen years. Fifteen years from a secular nation to an Islamic nation. Fifteen, that is all it took.

So, every country depending on how resistant the people are, depending on the number of the population, depending on all sorts of different factors, there is a different amount of time in each country, but they were gaining experience.

Experience, experience, experience. Now, they come into Turkey. Turkey is fucked. Now, it is every thing. They are getting their Ottoman Empire back again. They already infiltrated. It is too late, honest to God. If you heard the podcast with Douglas Murray and Sam Harris, but Germany forget it, gone. Sweden, gone.

France might have a chance. They could pull back. So, many areas of Europe. It is too late. You opened your doors. You did not check papers. You let people in by the millions and now your country has changed. You cannot get it back again.

Sweden has announced that they are shutting down their music festivals because too many women are getting raped. They cannot control it. Whenever they have a music festival, an inordinate number of women are being raped everywhere.

They say, “Fine shut down the music festival.” Then, what happened? One performer said, “Hey, why do not we have gender segregated music festivals?” And what everybody said, “That sounds great!”

So, now, we have gender segregated festivals in Sweden. What is next? Put a woman in a Burka, so she does not get raped? It is literally everything that they want is happening. Because we have oceans, we have borders over at North America and South America, we are still protected somewhat.

We still get to choose who we bring in. Europe, they have no choice. People walk across. So, we can still be, but we have to get it right. We are not getting it right. our mindset still hasn’t changed. Even in Europe, even in Germany, they should be the most alert.

They are still fighting it. They are still saying, “No, it is racism.” There was a woman that was raped. She would not say the ethnicity of the men that raped her because she did not want to come off as racist, so she said he was German. I can send you a link to this.

She did not want to say that he was a refugee. Then she went home after the rape kit, given the police officer’s false information about her rapist. Then she went home and her friend told her, “If you do not say the truth, this man is going to go off and rape another woman. That is going to be on your head.”

So, she went back to the police station and she told the truth. There was another case, with a man in Sweden this time, a man that was raped by his Somalian refugee that he kept in his house. He came to live in his house.

The man raped him and he did not want to press charges because he did not want the man to be sent back to Somalia again. That is how deep this white guilt is. It is insane. I had another story in my head. It went away.

But there are so many of them right. Then the UK, you heard of Rotterdam rape cases, thousands of girls. When you have a chance please listen to the Douglas Murray and Sam Harris podcast that they, what happened in Rotterdam, this is in the UK – many different areas of the UK not one but – this was in Rotterdam the first time that they discovered it. Thousands of girls were going missing.

The families were saying, “Those Muslims are kidnapping our children.” They were like, “That is racist.” Then some of the girls were escaping. They were coming and telling the police, “I was chained to a bed. I was gang raped daily.”

These are children right. These are from ten to sixteen, seventeen. These are the age groups of the girls that they were raping. They go to the police officers. They say, “This is what is happening to me.”

The police officers say, “No, that is racist” They never told the public because they did not want to come off as racist. By the time this story finally broke, thousands of girls were victims of gang rapes.

Then, what happened with Bill Cosby and any other situation? Once one story breaks, all the other cities – all across the UK, stories breaking everywhere. My god, we have a rape gang here too…we have a gang rape here too.

The country is littered with these rape gangs, okay? You are allowing your daughter to be raped rather than being called racist. That is the position we are in. That is how badly, how psychotically, people do not want to be called racist, Islamophobic, or a bigot.

I am like, “Who cares? Who the fuck cares if you have a choice of somebody calling you bad words, or this person being honored killed, this person getting their clitoris cut off, this person being gang raped? Which one is worse?”

The same thing is happening in Sweden. Same thing, they are selling their girls to be raped this is what I was going to tell you. In Sweden, you are not allowed to mention the race of the perpetrator when you are explaining to the police who was the criminal, any eye witness.

You are not allowed to mention race because then it comes off as racist. Have you ever heard anything so stupid in your life?

5. Jacobsen: I heard worse. However, that is absurd, though. If you are dealing with a crime you want, not necessarily demographics, but characteristics for a profile.

Mohammed: …description…

Jacobsen: Maybe, it saves money on ink when they are doing a sketch and printing it, but other than this…

Mohammed: How is that helpful to reduce crime, when you do not even know who the people are that are causing the crimes. How are you going to catch people when you do not know what they look like?

Jacobsen: Yes, and to relate this to our context in British Columbia, what are our issues? Some of them might be “God” in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Another one might be if you are to critique religion, especially the dominant one.

Seven out of 10 people are Christian roughly – four out of ten Catholic, three out of ten Protestant. If you were to critique either of those, it is not, “We are going to completely socially shun you. We will kick you out of the house.”

Mohammed: It is not nice. I would not make fun of people’s belief.

Jacobsen: So, it is a completely different context. There is a spectrum there, but along the spectrum of secular tolerant liberalized freedom. For a country, compared to many of the instances you been describing, they can be countries as theocracies.

For the society, sub-cultures, or sub-enclaves within, for instance, various European countries, or the inverse in some of those theocracies where, for want of a better term, there are pockets of Canada.

People scattered all over the place. They hold those liberal values. You do not talk about the supernatural to those who are secular to some degree, whether agnostic, atheist, or whatever else have you, but they cannot think about it. It is not permitted.

A lot of these issues as you are noting, as you are going from topic to topic, it seems like something with the individual tragic stories, individual rape cases, or even large cases with thousands of adolescent girls or younger, undergoing sexual assault of various forms.

These are related issues that have consequences on real people’s lives. What my sense from what you are telling me, it is (a) that is happening but (b), even more so, it is the indifference or denial that is ongoing.

Mohammed: Protection even, even if you are going to be indifferent and denial that it goes back, I grew up with indifference and denial. That was my whole life. I am used to that. However, on things that are changed, you are preventing criticism.

You are protecting these group of people that are oppressing. So, when you shut-down Maajid Nawaz and others, you are shutting down the receptors. You are shutting down the people that are trying to say, “Help us.” You are saying “Shhh, you are an Islamophobic person. You are an anti-Muslim, bigot.”

So, that is even worse than indifferent. Be indifferent fine, leave us alone, let people fight for their rights, but do not stand in the way and prevent them. Or do not support the people that are suppressing us including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Author; Founder, Free Hearts, Free Minds.

[2] Individual Publication Date: February 15, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-three; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Religion, Fundamentalist, and Denominations of the Left (Part Three) [Online].February 2019; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-three.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, February 15). Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Religion, Fundamentalist, and Denominations of the Left (Part Three)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-three.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Religion, Fundamentalist, and Denominations of the Left (Part Three). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A, February. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-three>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Religion, Fundamentalist, and Denominations of the Left (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-three.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Religion, Fundamentalist, and Denominations of the Left (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A (February 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-three.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Religion, Fundamentalist, and Denominations of the Left (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-three>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Religion, Fundamentalist, and Denominations of the Left (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-three.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Religion, Fundamentalist, and Denominations of the Left (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 19.A (2018):February. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-three>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Religion, Fundamentalist, and Denominations of the Left (Part Three) [Internet]. (2019, February; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-three.

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