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Two men holding Bibles attacked an 11-year-old girl and shouted: “You are going to burn in hell.” Assemblies of God reacted asking for freedom of religion for all.
Brazilian police said Wednesday they are trying to identify two men who attacked Kaylane Campos, an 11-year-old girl, as she left a party at a center used by followers of Candomble, a syncretic Afro-Brazilian religion.
According to the witnesses, she was walking down a Rio de Janeiro street with her grandmother on Sunday after the religious celebration, wearing the long white dress typical of the Candomble faith.
Ivanir dos Santos, a spokesman of the Commission against religious intolerance, said the attackers were holding Bibles and shouted "Satan” and “you are going to burn in hell” at Campos, when one of the two men threw a rock that hit her head, causing her to faint. She was taken to a hospital for treatment.
“This is not an isolated incident, and we want a specific response”, Ivanir do Santos demanded, who has publicly shown his concern for the rise of the aggressions for religious reasons in Brazil.
Followers of Afro-Brazilian religions like Candomble and Umbanda, frequently face hostility from members from some Pentecostal churches who feel that Afro-Brazilian religions are a form of witchcraft and attack Candomble temples.
Dos Santos said, however, that it was not known if the attackers belonged to a Pentecostal church.
SUPPORT FROM ALL DENOMINATIONS
The Candomble follower have received support from the synagogues, the Catholic church, and the Assemblies of God. Dos Santos explained that in the coming weeks, they will publish a document, detailing the incidents of religious intolerance they know.
He also insisted on the need of Evangelical community to react and take a clear position against these aggressions.
Candomble was developed in the 19th century by Brazil's slave populations, who associated the gods of the Yoruba people of West Africa with the pantheon of Roman Catholic saints in a bid to perpetuate their beliefs in the New World.
Despite her fear, Katia Marinho, the girls' grandmother, told the newspaper O Globo that her granddaughter will continue practicing Candomble. “It is all very frightening. One cannot live with so much discrimination," she said.
“CHRIST TEACHES US TOLOVE OUR NEIGHBOUR”
Sergio Mendes, a representative of the evangelical welfare association, condemn the attack: “it is terrible what has happened. We, as evangelicals, preach love, Jesus teaches us to love our neighbour”, he stated.
“It is necessary to read, study and understand religion, to live its teachings. Those who hurt children are not following the precepts that Jesus taught”, Mendes added.
Regarding the lack of positioning of the evangelical churches, Mendes clarified that “I cannot talk for the rest, the evangelical community is so big and it has its differences, but the majority wants and preaches love.”