Pamela Geller Spreads Loon Hoax: “Nigerian Muslims Crucify Cat Over Muhammad Film”

Pamela Geller, premiere anti-Muslim loon hoax perpetrator loves creating fictional stories and passing them off as real news. She has a particular penchant for fabricating stories about Nigerian Muslims, in her racist eyes all Africans look the same.

Recall her attempt to frame the Congo gas tanker explosion over a year ago in which hundreds of Congolese were incinerated as an instance of Nigerian Muslim on Christian violence. Anything goes for Geller if it dehumanizes Muslims, the more so to incite her followers towards her Ayn Rand inspired view of Muslims as “savages.”

In her recent lie against Nigerian Muslims she claims they crucified a cat in protest of the anti-Muslim movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” (h/t: Robert4 & Paul)

Nigerian Muslims Crucify A Cat on the Cross to Protest Freedom of Speech

September, 17, 2012

An anti-freedom, anti-life, culture produces little else other than new and different ways to kill, murder torture, destroy. That is their contribution to humanity — anti-humanity.

“Muslim Youths In Nigeria Crucify A Cat On The Cross To Protest Anti-Islam Film” Nigeria News

Geller is frolicking in hate land again, her post has been picked up in the Islamophobia echo chamber with JihadWatchIsrael ForumExposing Liberal Lies and thousands of others reproducing her blogpost. The above picture originated in Ghana not Nigeria, and surfaced nearly a year ago, reported by Ghanaweb.com in the article “Society for animal protection decries crucifixion of cat” and on the Cat Defender blog,

October 22, 2011

There are numerous reasons to be thankful to the Internet but the use of it as a forum in order for cat-haters to showcase the end products of their unspeakable cruelty and moral depravity is not one of them. The recent posting on Facebook of a photograph of a bound, black and white cat that was crucified by Ghanaian youths is a good case in point. (See photo above.)

Whereas the fate of big cats, elephants, primates, and other endangered and abused animals justifiably garners widespread attention from conservationists around the world, little attention is paid as to how companion and farm animals are treated on the “Dark Continent.” It therefore is difficult to gauge from afar whether the shocking manner in which this particular cat was abused is indicative of how most cats in Ghana are treated or whether this is merely as isolated case of moral degenerates seeking worldwide acclaim.

The photograph was posted online by someone who calls himself Kwabina Daniels, a.k.a. Popkon Sika-one. He possibly could be one of the youths shown in the photo but even that has been called into question by the Ghana Society for the Protection and Care of Animals’ (GSPCA) plea for the public’s assistance in identifying those pictured.

“To Facebookers and friends of the supposed perpetrator of this cruel act, it was fun and perhaps the most award-winning picture,” David Nyoagbe and Amasaba Adul-Yakeen Aluizah of the GSPCA said in a joint statement released to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on October 5th. (See “Society for Animal Protection Decries Crucifixion of a Cat.”) ”It took friends of animals all over the world who begun (sic) criticizing this dastardly act for the picture on (the) Facebook page to be taken off.”

To its credit, the GSPCA promptly condemned the killing and even went so far as to add that cats should be fed regularly, provided with veterinary care and sufficient space in which to exercise, and not be subjected to either threats or molestation. Beyond that, however, its position is a good deal more ambiguous.

The GSPCA concluded by accusing the youths of insulting Christianity. “If this is not blasphemy, then what is?” it plaintively asked in the GNA article cited supra.

For whatever it is worth, the CIA World Factbook claims that nearly sixty-eight per cent of Ghanaians profess to the Christians as opposed to only sixteen per cent who claim to be Muslims.

There is no evidence that these youth who crucified the cat were Muslims. Considering that Ghana is a predominantly Christian nation a more reasonable assumption would be that the perpetrators of this crime are Christian–such an assumption based on no evidence would however still be wrong.

It’s beyond disgraceful that Geller would use such a crime to dehumanize Muslims–it’s despicable. Such actions are par for the course with the anti-Muslim movement that seeks above everything to obsessively subjugate Muslims and crush/erase their religion from the face of the earth.

Nigerians Want to Transcend Sectarian and Ethnic Violence

 

There are those who look at violence between Muslims and Christians with glee, such as Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. For them, when Muslims act criminally or hatefully it is more fodder to smear Islam, while dismissing the same logic for Christian attacks on Muslims.

What boggles their mind however is when Muslims and Christians come together and oppose sectarianism and actively seek peace and reconciliation.

This is the case in Nigeria, where many want to transcend sectarian and ethnic violence (h/t: SK).

Here for example are pictures of recent protests in Nigeria showing solidarity and unity between Nigerians and Muslims:

Muslim and Christian Nigerians holding up their respective symbols

An Imam and a Pastor in a show of unity

Christians protesters protecting praying Muslim protesters (something we also saw in Egypt):

Muslims are also protecting Christian centers of worship. This needs to become a movement within Nigeria (h/t: Thomas Miles):

Protest: Muslim Youths Guard Churches

Some youths, mainly Muslim faithful, organised themselves into groups yesterday to guard worshippers in some churches in parts of Minna, Niger State capital, as part of a solidarity gesture against the removal of oil subsidy.

LEADERSHIP observed in Kpakungu area of Minna that some of the youths earlier dispersed by the Police on Friday from protesting at the Polo Field, Minna, had regrouped to protect some of the churches.

It was observed that the youths mounted the gates of the churches as their Christian counterparts were worshipping, and conducted themselves peacefully in order not to cause any apprehensions.

The youths, under the umbrella of Concerned Minna Residents, were last Friday dispersed by the police for lack of identity, with the Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Mohammed Maishanu,  saying they could not be granted a permit to hold protest.

The leader of the group, Awaal Gata, told LEADERSHIP in an interview at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Kpakungu, said, “we are protecting our fellow Christian brothers and sisters to show the people that our leaders cannot use religion to divide us.

“In this struggle, we are determined to make sure that the removal of fuel subsidy will not stay; we want to send a signal – by coming here to protect our Christians friends and to show that we are one and our Christian brothers will do same on Friday,” he added.

Asked whether they got police permit to do what they were doing, he said: “We are peaceful; we are here to protect ourselves and to emphasize that security is not only in the hands of the police –  security is the responsibility of every citizen.”

These are the forces and the voices who should be promoted. Yet extremists on both sides want to see violence in a push for power.

Protests Against the Bigotry of Purdue Professor Maurice Moshe Eisenstein

Professor Maurice Moshe Eisenstein is a tenured associate professor of Political Science at Purdue University Calumet. He is under fire from student protesters for past and present remarks targeting various groups but particularly Muslims.

This is how a local paper described the events:

Nearly two dozen students demonstrated Wednesday outside Purdue University Calumet in protest of a political science professor who they say made racially prejudiced remarks verbally and on his Facebook page, particularly targeting Muslim students.

The student who organized the protests is one Christopher Ramirez. Ramirez believes that prof. Eisenstein purposefully posted inflammatory remarks aimed at Muslims on his Facebook page on the Muslim festival of Eid-Al Adha:

Christopher Ramirez, who organized the protest, pointed to associate professor of political science Maurice Eisenstein’s Facebook page, where he posted a picture and comment Sunday about 100 black Christians who were killed by radical Muslims. Ramirez said the picture and comment were posted on the first day of Eid, a traditional Muslim holiday.

Eisentstein for his part believes he is the victim of a conspiracy by Jew-haters:

They say I teach religion in class. I believe the person who started this is a faculty member, and I believe that many of these are her students. I am the only one who comes in every day with a kippah (a cap) on. I don’t know the answers to your questions. I made myself available. No one spoke to me. They are saying all of these bad things about me, but they wouldn’t talk to me.”

Maurice Eisenstein, who believes he is being targeted because he is an Orthodox Jew.

Actually, it would seem professor that the students are quite right to take umbrage at your Facebook postings. Viewing it today, we captured this screen shot of what we assume is the offending post that has riled up the student protesters:

It is quite condescending for a political science professor to coach his view of the sectarian violence in Nigeria in such black and white terms as “decide if you are with the radical or civilized people,” clearly he is generalizing about Islam and Muslims, and casting them in the “radical” and hence “uncivilized” camp. Students who saw this posting and read it in the context of the professor’s past statements can be excused for thinking he meant to tar all Muslims.

Yet, what we found even more egregious and definitely inexcusable is the link the professor posted just a few scrolls down on his Facebook page. It is a link to the hate site run by the fanatical queen bee of Islamophobia, Pamela Geller’s AtlasShrugs:

This is inexcusable. Pamela Geller is not only a radical anti-Muslim but a racist to boot, if you don’t believe us (there’s ample evidence to believe us), then maybe you will take the word of the ADL and the SPLC. Such a link cannot be a mere faux pas, it’s akin to linking to the neo-Nazi Stormfront website, and the administration at Purdue University Calumet should take a stronger stand than it has:

“Purdue Calumet by its nature as a public university welcomes and encourages the exchange of thoughtful and diverse views and opinions. Likewise, the university does not condone expressions that are considered offensive, intolerant or disrespectful.

“That stated, certain, recent unpleasant comments exchanged between Associate Professor of Political Science Maurice Eisenstein and others have been communicated on the Professor’s personal Facebook page. In no way do these comments reflect the university’s position and commitment to tolerance and respect with regard to the right of free expression by all individuals.

“Nonetheless, though Professor Eisenstein is a tenured faculty member, tenure has no bearing on the nature of free expression, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, that Purdue Calumet faculty members choose to exercise on their personal Facebook page. Neither are there Purdue Calumet policies and regulations that extend to personal Facebook pages.”

Such mealy mouthed pronouncements from the administration do nothing to help. Loonwatchers should let them know that they should review the professor’s treatment of his students, not only due to the protests but also the troubling links the professor maintains. Ask them if they would be okay with a professor linking to neo-Nazi websites? And then inform them of the disgusting, bigoted, racist, genocidal comments Geller has made, as well as her associations.

Here is the contact page for the University:

Contact

Purdue University Calumet
Office of University Relations
2200 169th Street
Hammond, IN 46323-2094

Phone:
219/989-2400
1-800 HI-PURDUE, x.2400
Locally within Indiana & Illinois

E-mail:
univrel@calumet.purdue.edu

Contact the professor as well:

219) 989-2688
Office: CLO 294
email: m_eisens@purduecal.edu

B.Sc. Purdue University,
M.A. Purdue University,
Ph.D. (1993) Purdue University

Video of the Student protest:

Pamela Geller Watch: Ties Gas Tanker Explosion in Congo to Electoral Violence in Nigeria

Spencer’s buddy is up to her old lies again:

Professional hate blogger Pamela Geller is going to be exposed once again in the following article. She is going to be exposed pretty brutally.

We know about her vitriolic hate and twisting of truth quite well now. Her claims that Obama is the love child of Malcolm X, that he was born in Kenya, her calls to nuke Mecca, Medina, Tehran and to destroy the Golden Dome, her crusade against Campbell Soup’s “imminent Sharia’ take over,” etc.

We know her world is a twisted, vapid void in which honesty and intellect is frowned upon and viewed as frightening. Half the time I wonder if she isn’t asleep or on some hallucinogenic while typing away on her propaganda site, but this time she may have topped even her own crazy self.

Pamela is claiming in a blog titled, Nigeria: Muslim Hordes Mass Slaughter Christians that a gruesome picture is evidence of Muslim violence against Christians in Nigeria (be warned the picture is gruesome):

A terrible and horrifying picture indeed.

Pamela brags that she wrote about it “first” back on April 19, and then wonders “why” is America fighting in Libya to restore a “universal Caliphate?”

Huh??

It turns out however that the above picture is not evidence of some “Muslim rampage” in Nigeria! The charred bodies are a tragic result of a tanker explosion in the CONGO!! A whole other country the last time I checked! Here is the evidence from Afrik.com (I give you the Google translation since it was originally in French):

The explosion, on July 3, a tanker in the town of Sange, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has resulted in 235 deaths.

Here is the original French language report where you will also find more pictures:RDC : les images atroces du drame de Sange au Sud-Kivu

You will also see an interesting picture of Muslim UN soldiers, possibly from Pakistan helping to respond to the tragedy.

Here is a report from Reuters with some more pictures:

(Reuters) – At least 230 people were killed when a fuel tanker overturned and exploded in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, unleashing a fire ball that tore through homes and cinemas packed with people watching World Cup soccer.

Officials said on Saturday the explosion late on Friday also injured 196 people, adding that the death toll could rise.

They described scenes of devastation in the town of Sange, where houses were burned and bodies littered the streets. Some people died while trying to steal fuel leaking from the tanker, but most were killed at home or watching World Cup soccer in cinemas.

Many of the bodies were charred beyond recognition.

United Nations helicopters began airlifting injured people to hospital, while Congo’s army, which lost a number of men in the blast, has sent soldiers in to help with the rescue.

“Our latest numbers are 230 dead and 196 injured,” Madnodje Mounoubai, a spokesman for the U.N. mission, said. Congo’s government also gave the same number of dead.

Marcellin Cisambo, governor of South Kivu province, where the incident took place, said the blast occurred when the fuel truck overturned, leaked fuel and then later exploded.

It was not immediately clear what caused the initial accident or later blast, but local people said the truck, which was part of a convoy, stopped when the road seemed to crumble, toppling the vehicle and spilling fuel. Fire then erupted.

“It’s a terrible scene. There are lots of dead bodies on the streets. The population is in terrible shock — no one is crying or speaking,” Jean-Claude Kibala, South Kivu’s vice governor, said from Sange, which is between the towns of Bukavu and Uvira.

“We are trying to see how we can coordinate with (the U.N.) to manage the situation and how to take the wounded to hospital,” he added.

TANKER ACCIDENTS

Roads in the area are notoriously bad after years of war and neglect in the vast central African nation.

“Some people were killed trying to steal the fuel, but most of the deaths were of people who were indoors watching the (World Cup) match,” Cisambo said.

There have been numerous similar accidents across Africa, where crowds gather around fuel tankers involved in crashes, only for the tanker to explode.

Millions of football fans across Africa were watching Ghana, the continent’s last team in the World Cup, play Uruguay in the quarterfinals of the tournament on Friday evening.

For many, who have no electricity at home, makeshift cinema halls are the only option for watching the football.

“My children were watching the football match in the cinema and then they ran out to see the petrol,” said Kiza Ruvinira, who lost three children and his sister-in-law in the blast.

“I went out to see what happened and I found my three children’s bodies myself. I don’t know how to go on.”

Mubaya Mumasura also lost three family members: “I don’t know what to do with myself I am so sad. I want the government to assist all the victims and help us.”

Congo’s weak government has difficulty providing even the most basic services, so U.N. peacekeepers began airlifting some of the wounded to nearby hospitals and aid workers were called in to help with medical treatment.

“The national Red Cross is working on collecting the bodies and taking them to the morgue, but the priority is obviously to take the wounded to the hospital,” International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) coordinator Inah Kaloga told Reuters.”

Kaloga said aid workers were trying to identify bodies before they were buried, but many were completely charred.

“It’s a catastrophe,” said Captain Olivier Hamuli,” spokesman for Congo’s military operation in South Kivu, adding that 13 soldiers had been injured and another 10 were missing.

The Kenyan driver of the truck is being held by the police.

Alain Ilunga, deputy CEO of Congo’s storage and distribution company, which is already investigating the incident, said the truck was carrying 49,000 liters of petrol at the time.

(Writing by David Lewis; editing by Ralph Boulton)

Spencer’s Hypocrisy With Election Violence

Robert Spencer, or “Police Blotter Bobby” as we have come to know him here, is completely hypocritical when it comes to Muslims and violence. His “IIT,” or “Islamophobe in Training,” Marisol blogged about the violence in Northern Nigeria in the wake of the victory of the Christian candidate Goodluck Jonathan. Mr. Jonathan said that the violence was “not a spontaneous reaction,” and “I don’t want to accuse anybody but we believe that people must be behind this.” That can mean anything.

Marisol, however, translated that statement into this conclusion:

[…]

the inclination toward violence was already there, waiting for another excuse to make a show of force and abuse non-Muslims. And as with those “protests,” we have seen that even the flimsiest of pretexts will do. If it is not one excuse du jour, it might be the next day’s “provocation” or “humiliation.”

These incidents would not happen — and would not keep happening — if not for an able and willing populace, and pre-existing hatred and intolerance of non-Muslims.

Here, of course, there is another angle. It is quite reasonable for President Jonathan to surmise that many Muslims in the north were poised and ready to let loose once the votes were counted. The election results show the Muslim candidate didn’t stand a chance, but that didn’t matter: if the Muslims could win the election, Islamic law could advance that way. If they lost, they would attempt to advance Islamic law the old fashioned way, demanding concessions through violence and threats.

Complete nonsense and betrayal of the facts on the ground. According to an analysis on the very same BBC article Marisol cited, which was not in the post, said this:

Both the winner of Nigeria’s election, Goodluck Jonathan, and his main rival, Muhammadu Buhari, have called for calm following the post-poll riots in the north. But the tensions cannot be plastered over.

Most of those behind the rioting have been unemployed young men – uneducated and deprived. Often they are only remembered by politicians at elections, when they are sometimes paid to do their bidding. They could send any conflict out of control, because it provides them with an opportunity to loot and attack the people they perceive as their enemies.

Irrespective of political party and region, 12 years of civilian rule have brought little change to the lives of Nigerians. But the north is far behind the south in terms of development, education and the availability of economic opportunities. Good governance, not political platitudes from the elite, is what many say is needed for the future.

Nothing about Islam, violence, Islamic law, Sharia, etc. But, of course, the “scholars” at JihadWatch will never tell you this.

What’s more, they were completely silent about the election violence in nearby Ivory Coast. For over four months, violence has raged in that African nation after Alassane Ouattara defeated incumbent Laurent Gbagbo. But, Gbagbo refused to step down, and as a result, thousands were killed and millions displaced.

But, since this has nothing to do with Islam, they don’t seem to care at all. Can you really take Spencer seriously?

Churches involved in Torture, Murder of Thousands of African Children Denounced as Witches

This Aug. 18, 2009 photo shows children accused of witchcraft waiting for food at the Children's Rights and Rehabilitation Network in Eket, Nigeria. The idea of witchcraft is hardly new, but it has taken on new life recently partly because of a rapid growth in evangelical Christianity. Campaigners against the practice say around 15,000 children have been accused in two of Nigeria's 36 states over the past decade and around 1,000 have been murdered. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba) (SUNDAY ALAMBA, AP / August 18, 2009)

This Aug. 18, 2009 photo shows children accused of witchcraft waiting for food at the Children's Rights and Rehabilitation Network in Eket, Nigeria.

In a grisly article, the LA Times reports via the AP that thousands of African children have been tortured and murdered in the name of Christianity because they were thought to be witches. The burning and murdering of “witches” is something that was thought to have died out in the 17th century with the Salem Witch Trials but it is all too real in some places around the world, especially in Africa where Evangelicalism has been on the rise.

Rest assured Robert Spencer won’t be reporting on this any time soon, nor will the mainstream media say (rightly so) “Christianity” is to blame for this because it is not; human beings are the cause. This highlights a double standard, the continuing saga of “what if they were Muslim?” If we replaced the word Christian here with Muslim and the word Churches with Mosques, we know very well that this would be plastered all over the internet in a second. The anti-Muslim blogosphere would be erupting in delirium and pundits would be pontificating on how Islam is the cause, Islam is barbaric, Islam is irreconcilable to modernity and must be stopped, etc.

Churches Involved in Torture, Murder of Thousands of African Children

by, Katharine Hourfeld

EKET, Nigeria (AP) — The nine-year-old boy lay on a bloodstained hospital sheet crawling with ants, staring blindly at the wall.

His family pastor had accused him of being a witch, and his father then tried to force acid down his throat as an exorcism. It spilled as he struggled, burning away his face and eyes. The emaciated boy barely had strength left to whisper the name of the church that had denounced him — Mount Zion Lighthouse.

A month later, he died.

Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of “witch children” reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files.

Some of the churches involved are renegade local branches of international franchises. Their parishioners take literally the Biblical exhortation, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

“It is an outrage what they are allowing to take place in the name of Christianity,” said Gary Foxcroft, head of nonprofit Stepping Stones Nigeria.

For their part, the families are often extremely poor, and sometimes even relieved to have one less mouth to feed. Poverty, conflict and poor education lay the foundation for accusations, which are then triggered by the death of a relative, the loss of a job or the denunciation of a pastor on the make, said Martin Dawes, a spokesman for the United Nations Children’s Fund.

“When communities come under pressure, they look for scapegoats,” he said. “It plays into traditional beliefs that someone is responsible for a negative change … and children are defenseless.”

____

The idea of witchcraft is hardly new, but it has taken on new life recently partly because of a rapid growth in evangelical Christianity. Campaigners against the practice say around 15,000 children have been accused in two of Nigeria’s 36 states over the past decade and around 1,000 have been murdered. In the past month alone, three Nigerian children accused of witchcraft were killed and another three were set on fire.

Nigeria is one of the heartlands of abuse, but hardly the only one: the United Nations Children’s Fund says tens of thousands of children have been targeted throughout Africa.

Church signs sprout around every twist of the road snaking through the jungle between Uyo, the capital of the southern Akwa Ibom state where Nwanaokwo lay, and Eket, home to many more rejected “witch children.” Churches outnumber schools, clinics and banks put together. Many promise to solve parishioner’s material worries as well as spiritual ones — eight out of ten Nigerians struggle by on less than $2 a day.

“Poverty must catch fire,” insists the Born 2 Rule Crusade on one of Uyo’s main streets.

“Where little shots become big shots in a short time,” promises the Winner’s Chapel down the road.

“Pray your way to riches,” advises Embassy of Christ a few blocks away.

It’s hard for churches to carve out a congregation with so much competition. So some pastors establish their credentials by accusing children of witchcraft.

Nwanaokwo said he knew the pastor who accused him only as Pastor King. Mount Zion Lighthouse in Nigeria at first confirmed that a Pastor King worked for them, then denied that they knew any such person.

Bishop A.D. Ayakndue, the head of the church in Nigeria, said pastors were encouraged to pray about witchcraft, but not to abuse children.

“We pray over that problem (of witchcraft) very powerfully,” he said. “But we can never hurt a child.”

The Nigerian church is a branch of a Californian church by the same name. But the California church says it lost touch with its Nigerian offshoots several years ago.

“I had no idea,” said church elder Carrie King by phone from Tracy, Calif. “I knew people believed in witchcraft over there but we believe in the power of prayer, not physically harming people.”

The Mount Zion Lighthouse — also named by three other families as the accuser of their children — is part of the powerful Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria. The Fellowship’s president, Ayo Oritsejafor, said the Fellowship was the fastest-growing religious group in Nigeria, with more than 30 million members.

“We have grown so much in the past few years we cannot keep an eye on everybody,” he explained.

But Foxcroft, the head of Stepping Stones, said if the organization was able to collect membership fees, it could also police its members better. He had already written to the organization twice to alert it to the abuse, he said. He suggested the fellowship ask members to sign forms denouncing abuse or hold meetings to educate pastors about the new child rights law in the state of Akwa Ibom, which makes it illegal to denounce children as witches. Similar laws and education were needed in other states, he said.

Sam Itauma of the Children’s Rights and Rehabilitation Network said it is the most vulnerable children — the orphaned, sick, disabled or poor — who are most often denounced. In Nwanaokwo’s case, his poor father and dead mother made him an easy target.

“Even churches who didn’t use to ‘find’ child witches are being forced into it by the competition,” said Itauma. “They are seen as spiritually powerful because they can detect witchcraft and the parents may even pay them money for an exorcism.”

That’s what Margaret Eyekang did when her 8-year-old daughter Abigail was accused by a “prophet” from the Apostolic Church, because the girl liked to sleep outside on hot nights — interpreted as meaning she might be flying off to join a coven. A series of exorcisms cost Eyekang eight months’ wages, or US$270. The payments bankrupted her.

Neighbors also attacked her daughter.

“They beat her with sticks and asked me why I was bringing them a witch child,” she said. A relative offered Eyekang floor space but Abigail was not welcome and had to sleep in the streets.

Members of two other families said pastors from the Apostolic Church had accused their children of witchcraft, but asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.

The Nigeria Apostolic Church refused repeated requests made by phone, e-mail and in person for comment.

___

At first glance, there’s nothing unusual about the laughing, grubby kids playing hopscotch or reading from a tattered Dick and Jane book by the graffiti-scrawled cinderblock house. But this is where children like Abigail end up after being labeled witches by churches and abandoned or tortured by their families.

There’s a scar above Jane’s shy smile: her mother tried to saw off the top of her skull after a pastor denounced her and repeated exorcisms costing a total of $60 didn’t cure her of witchcraft. Mary, 15, is just beginning to think about boys and how they will look at the scar tissue on her face caused when her mother doused her in caustic soda. Twelve-year-old Rachel dreamed of being a banker but instead was chained up by her pastor, starved and beaten with sticks repeatedly; her uncle paid him $60 for the exorcism.

Israel’s cousin tried to bury him alive, Nwaekwa’s father drove a nail through her head, and sweet-tempered Jerry — all knees, elbows and toothy grin — was beaten by his pastor, starved, made to eat cement and then set on fire by his father as his pastor’s wife cheered it on.

The children at the home run by Itauma’s organization have been mutilated as casually as the praying mantises they play with. Home officials asked for the children’s last names not to be used to protect them from retaliation.

The home was founded in 2003 with seven children; it now has 120 to 200 at any given time as children are reconciled with their families and new victims arrive.

Helen Ukpabio is one of the few evangelists publicly linked to the denunciation of child witches. She heads the enormous Liberty Gospel church in Calabar, where Nwanaokwo used to live. Ukpabio makes and distributes popular books and DVDs on witchcraft; in one film, a group of child witches pull out a man’s eyeballs. In another book, she advises that 60 percent of the inability to bear children is caused by witchcraft.

In an interview with the AP, Ukpabio is accompanied by her lawyer, church officials and personal film crew.

“Witchcraft is real,” Ukpabio insisted, before denouncing the physical abuse of children. Ukpabio says she performs non-abusive exorcisms for free and was not aware of or responsible for any misinterpretation of her materials.

“I don’t know about that,” she declared.

However, she then acknowledged that she had seen a pastor from the Apostolic Church break a girl’s jaw during an exorcism. Ukpabio said she prayed over her that night and cast out the demon. She did not respond to questions on whether she took the girl to hospital or complained about the injury to church authorities.

After activists publicly identified Liberty Gospel as denouncing “child witches,” armed police arrived at Itauma’s home accompanied by a church lawyer. Three children were injured in the fracas. Itauma asked that other churches identified by children not be named to protect their victims.

“We cannot afford to make enemies of all the churches around here,” he said. “But we know the vast majority of them are involved in the abuse even if their headquarters aren’t aware.”

Just mentioning the name of a church is enough to frighten a group of bubbly children at the home.

“Please stop the pastors who hurt us,” said Jerry quietly, touching the scars on his face. “I believe in God and God knows I am not a witch.”