(Reuters, March 21, 2000)
JERUSALEM, March 21 (Reuters) - Ultra-Orthodox Jews pronounced a mortal curse against Pope John Paul in footage aired by Israel Channel Two Television on Tuesday, hours before the Pontiff's arrival for an historic Holy Land pilgrimage.
Police are on alert for the six-day-long papal visit to Israel and Palestinian-ruled Bethlehem beginning on Tuesday evening. Security forces have placed special emphasis on curbing the activities of Jewish militants.
The midnight rite, which the television said was enacted on Thursday in a cemetery in the northern Israel town of Safed, recalled rabbinical curses cast on Yitzhak Rabin prior to his 1995 assassination by a right-wing religious Jew opposed to the then-prime minister's peace moves.
Participants in the ceremony, sounding ritual calls on ceremonial ram's horns, cursed the Pope as a ``hater of Israel.''
They also singled out Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad for curses.
Earlier on Monday, Israeli police detained three members of what they called the ``extremist Jewish right-wing'' for posting virulently anti-Pope placards on walls in Jerusalem.
A court ordered one of the militants placed under house arrest until the Pope leaves Israel on March 26.
In a separate action, Jewish militants held an anti-Pope demonstration in Jerusalem's Old City near the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site.
In a reference to the wartime Pope Pius XII, viewed by some Jews as having turned a blind eye to the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust, the protesters held signs reading: ``Pius, the Pope of Hitler -- John Paul, the Pope of (the militant Islamic) Hamas.''
by Adewale Busari (P.M. News (Lagos), February 25, 2000)
Lagos - Leader of One Love Family, Sat Guru Maharajji, despite being detained at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons continues to run the affairs of his religious organisation with 29 centres nationwide.
Speaking with P.M.News during one of his appearances at the Ikeja High Court, the Publicity Secretary of the sect, Mr. Ese (Premiere) disclosed that although they miss the fatherly role of Guru Marahajji in the organisation, he still makes up for it by giving out instruction through their representatives who pay him routine visits in detention.
He lamented that Maharaji is languishing in detention because of serious opposition to his good works. Mr. Ese expressed hope that their master would soon breath the air of freedom.
However, the murder trial could not go on as scheduled yesterday because of the mysterious illness of a police witness.
P.M.News gathered that about fifteen minutes into the commencement of the trial, the witness suddenly took ill. This caused the defence counsel, Mr. Jide Bakare, to apply for an adjournment. He also urged the court to control the number of people allowed into the court during the next adjournment because of the stuffy environment.
But Mr. Adeshina Ogunlana, representing Maharajji urged the court to reject the applications on the ground that the prosecution is only employing delay tactics at the expense of the accused person's freedom.
In his ruling, Justice James Oduneye said the court would henceforth take control of its premises by decongesting it whenever it feels it is necessary.
He urged both parties to work out modalities for ensuring that the case is given accelerated hearing by bringing the accused persons to court on daily basis while the case was adjourned to 2 March for further hearing.
Watching millennial and apocalyptic cults in the year 2000 - Index Page
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