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~ March 2008 Supplemental ~


Saudi Arabia: Halt Woman’s Execution for ‘Witchcraft’

Continued . . .The judges relied on Fawza Falih’s coerced confession and on the statements of witnesses who said she had “bewitched” them to convict her in April 2006. She retracted her confession in court, claiming it was extracted under duress, and that as an illiterate woman she did not understand the document she was forced to fingerprint. She also stated in her appeal that her interrogators beat her during her 35 days in detention at the hands of the religious police. At one point, she had to be hospitalized as a result of the beatings.

The judges never investigated whether her confession was voluntary or reliable or investigated her allegations of torture. They never even made an inquiry as to whether she could have been responsible for allegedly supernatural occurrences, such as the sudden impotence of a man she is said to have “bewitched.” They also broke Saudi law in multiple instances, ignoring legal rules on proper procedures in a trial.

The judges did not sit as a panel of three, as required for cases involving the death penalty. They excluded Fawza Falih from most trial sessions and banned a relative who was acting as her legal representative from attending any session. Earlier, her interrogators blocked her access to a lawyer and the judges, and denied her the right to professional legal representation, thus depriving her of the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses against her. She claims that some of the witnesses were unknown to her and that others had made statements against her only as a result of beatings.

Saudi Arabia does not have a written penal code, and “witchcraft” is not a defined crime. The Law of Criminal Procedure of 2002 grants defendants the right to be tried in person, to have a lawyer present during interrogation and trial, and to cross-examine any prosecution witnesses. The law obliges law enforcement officers to treat detainees humanely.

An appeals court ruled in September 2006 that Fawza Falih could not be sentenced to death for “witchcraft” as a crime against God because she had retracted her confession. The lower court judges then sentenced her to death on a “discretionary” basis, for the benefit of “public interest” and to “protect the creed, souls and property of this country.”

“The judges’ behavior in Fawza Falih’s trial shows they were interested in anything but a quest for the truth,” Stork said. “They completely disregarded legal guarantees that would have demonstrated how ill-founded this whole case was.”

On November 2, Saudi Arabia executed Mustafa Ibrahim for sorcery in Riyadh. Ibrahim, an Egyptian working as a pharmacist in the northern town of `Ar’ar, was found guilty of having tried “through sorcery” to separate a married couple, according to a Ministry of Interior statement.

To read the letter from Human Rights Watch to King Abdullah, please visit:

For more information on Saudi Arabia, please visit:

bunny craft

Kids Realm ~ Bunny Craft


Sleepy Bunny

by: Amanda Formaro
Difficulty: Easy

This cute little bunny fell asleep inside of one of your Easter eggs! Shhh, don't wake him--he needs his strength to deliver those goodies.

What you'll need:
• ½ egg shell
• Wooden doll stand
• 2 large white pompoms
• 4 medium white pompoms.
• 1 miniature pink pompom
• scrap of black felt
• Pink and white acrylic paint
• White felt
• White craft glue
• Scissors
• Thin white ribbon

How to make it:
• Be sure egg shell is clean and dry.
• Paint outside of egg shell pink.
• Paint the doll stand with a mixture of white and pink paint. Let dry.
• Glue the eggshell to the doll stand.
• Add some glue to the inside of the egg shell. Place one of the large white pompoms inside the egg shell. Glue the other large white pompom on top of the first one.
• Glue two medium white pompoms to the inside of the egg shell so that they show at the top of the shell (paws).
• Glue the other two medium pompoms to the head for cheeks.
• Glue the miniature pink pompom in between the two cheeks.
• Cut two long ears from the white felt and glue to the top of the head at the sides. Fold them downward and glue the ends to the egg shell.
• Cut two small crescent shaped slits from the black felt and glue on to head for sleepy eyes.
• Tie ribbon around the bottom of the egg shell and form a bow, trim the ends.

• Pompoms can be purchased in large value packs with different colors and sizes.
• Be sure to check the craft stores following each holiday for major clearance priced items.
• You could get even more creative and add a sleeping cap to the project by cutting a piece of pastel colored felt and rolling into a cone. Glue it to the top of the head and bend the end downward and glue to bunny’s back.


Pope rules out Feminist Theology
By: Malcolm Moore

Continued . . . Instead, it said that the traditional form of "Father, Son and Holy Ghost" had to be respected. The alternative phrases originated in North America and started to become popular only in the past few years. The new phrases are particularly popular in the Church of England. It was recently reported that guidelines to bishops and priests advised them to avoid "uncritical use of masculine imagery". The Catholic Church and the Church of England are split over feminist issues. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the Pope, met in Rome last year, but admitted that the ordination of women priests was a "serious obstacle" to closer ties. The Pope, who wrote the latest ruling, has been a strong opponent of feminism in the Catholic Church. In his book, The Ratzinger Report, he wrote: "I am, in fact, convinced that what feminism promotes in its radical form is no longer the Christianity that we know; it is another religion."Rosemary Radford Ruether, a professor of feminist theology at the Graduate Theological Union in California, said that among "liberal" Catholics, the Pope "is not our Pope". The Vatican said anyone baptised under the feminist terms could invalidate their marriage. Cardinal Urbano Navarrete, who wrote a formal commentary on yesterday's ruling, gave warning that anyone who attempted to baptise someone with a gender-neutral form would be penalised. "It is seriously illegitimate and unjust," he said. Monsignor Antonio Miralles, a professor at the Pontifical Holy Cross University, said the new baptism "subverts faith in the Trinity" because it does not make the relationship between the three persons clear. "God is eternally Father in relation to His only begotten Son, who is not eternally Son except in relation to the Father." Meanwhile, the Pope also spoke out against gay marriage and abortion before his first trip to the United States before Easter. He praised Americans who respected the "institution of marriage, acknowledged as a stable union between a man and a woman".

First Wiccan Chaplain in History To Meet with
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Update on Patrick McCollum at US Commission on Civil Rights - February 8, 2008
Remarks Delivered Before Commission

Continued . . ."It is an honor to be invited to participate in the dialogue and to share a Wiccan's point of view," said McCollum. "Those in minority faiths are seldom given the opportunity to be heard, even when the issue concerns their rights. I am hopeful this invitation is indicative of what we can expect going forward and that there truly is a desire on the part of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to ensure that inmates receive equal treatment, and a willingness to better serve minority religions."

Rev. McCollum has been a member of Circle Sanctuary, an international Wiccan church for nearly thirty years and has been an activist for Wiccan and Pagan civil rights through the Lady Liberty League (LLL) which the church sponsors. He was part of the LLL team which succeeded in getting the US Department of Veterans Affairs to add the pentacle to its list of emblems of belief that can be inscribed on the veteran gravestones it issues.

As LLL's National Coordinator of Prison Ministries, McCollum has worked for inmates rights at state and federal correctional institutions across the nation for more than a decade. Rev. McCollum recently became the Director of Prison Chaplaincy for Cherry Hill Seminary (CHS), which offers graduate level education to Wiccan and Pagan chaplains serving in institutional settings. In addition, McCollum is also chair of the National Correctional Chaplaincy Directors

Other speakers at Friday's meeting include representatives from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, American Civil Liberties Union Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, Homeland Security, Office of the Deputy Attorney General as well as the Task Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

The briefing will be held beginning at 9:30 am on Friday, February 8 at U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 624 Ninth Street NW, Room 540, Washington, DC.

For a complete list of speakers and other details, see U.S. Commission on Civil Rights official press release.

For More Info Contact Circle Sanctuary and Lady Liberty LeaguePatrick speaking in Washington DC in July 2007

Ostara Meditation - The Potential Within
by Karen Tate

Continued . . . Keeping your eyes closed you allow the movie screen of your mind to switch on. And you see you have just transported to the most beautiful meadow. The sun is shining high in the bright blue sky and you feel its warmth. You see flocks of birds overhead and hear their calls. The clouds are like fluffy wads of cotton in the heavens. Lowering your eyes, as you look around, you see a grove of trees before you. You hear the tap, tap of the red-headed woodpeckers on the ancient trunks. There are spatterings of flowers growing here and there. Blue irises. Yellow daffodils. You look down and see you are standing in a field of green clover. You notice some of the leaves have three leaves and others four. You feel truly lucky to be in alive and embraced in nature’s garden.

Then you realize you hear the rush of water behind you and feel a light spray of wetness. Turning around, you see a magnificent waterfall. You feel drawn to move toward the flowing water, being a creature of water that you are. As you walk toward the life-giving liquid, you see the other creatures that the water has also attracted. There are frogs and turtles making their way along the banks of the waterfall pool. Fish are abundant in the waters. Purple water lilies float upon the surface. There is even a timid young doe getting a drink. Then you notice playing in some high grasses just alongside the waters edge - a clutch of white rabbits. Some are nibbling the green blades of grass, others are taking care of their young ones, all are busy playing in Gaia’s garden.

Moving closer to the waterfall, you notice there seems to be a path of stones that will take you behind the falling water. You sense the cool darkness there and it calls to you. Stepping along the path, you reach out for a tree to steady you. As you do, you notice that the branches are filled with birds and their joyful songs uplift your spirits even higher. Your keen eyes notice the many nests in the branches and one nest, very close to you, holds several pale blue eggs. Soon the mother bird is back tending this nest and you continue along your stone path leading behind the waterfall. You are grateful for the glimpse of life you saw within the nest.

Soon you are behind the waterfall and your eyes have to adjust to the darkness. You realize this cave behind the water’s edge goes deep into the mountain. You feel perfectly at ease as you begin to go deeper within the cave. There is a peace and security in its coolness that lures you still deeper within. Looking down, you notice some squirrels retrieving nuts they’d hidden among the rocks. And the white rabbits you saw earlier are also here. They take no notice of you, so you decide to sit upon a large rock perfectly positioned to be a comfortable seat. Here you enjoy simply watching the rabbits and squirrels go about doing the things that they do.

Suddenly you see a white mist that seems to emanate from the rear of the deep chasm before you. The mist swirls and moves toward you and around you - piquing your curiosity. You wonder at your fearlessness but you feel secure in this womb-like space. Within seconds the mist seems to take a more solid shape and you hear a voice. “Do not be afraid. I am here to teach you that which you seek.”

Trusting and curious, you sit and wait for what might happen next. Within a few seconds the mist has taken the form of a beautiful woman who reaches out her hand and touches the top of your head, gifting you with vision.

You see in this vision, a woman on a throne, flanked by two lions. To her right is her consort on his throne. You see that the consort’s skin is a pale green like the flowering earth. From a large seed on his lap, you see vines and flowers growing full. They entwine around his royal chair and encompass his body, becoming his clothing. Then, in what seems like time lapsed photography, the green growth matures, growing larger, fuller and more abundant. The Divine Feminine tells you to look upon his face as it morphs from one face to another - and without knowing exactly how, you intuit that you are seeing the faces of the great old gods or consorts of Goddess - Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, Attis, and Jesus. The flowering, dying, and rising kings. And she smiles at you saying, “They are One.”

The Queen Goddess touches your head again and the scene changes. Your seat is now within a nest-like enclosure and all around are colored eggs. You see red ones, blue ones, yellow, and green eggs. Some have symbols on them. Flowers, spirals, ankhs, crosses, wavy lines, inter-locked triangles. She points to one egg and you know you are meant to touch it. As you do, you hear the words, “Ah the Garden - There is wisdom and magic in the dirt!” You smile at Ostara in amazement - yes, you know her by her name now. She is the Goddess of Spring.

She points to another egg - which you touch. Again you hear words. This time you hear, “When I let go of who I am, I become who I might be.” This makes you smile and you exchange an understanding glance with Ostara, who points to a yellow egg just within reach. Then you hear, “Within you there is an inner seed of radiance waiting to grow.” You are aglow with these truths and hope, and you hardly notice the mist that was Ostara is beginning to fade. Slowly, slowly you are alone once again - alone in the dark womb of Gaia. But as you look down, there at your feet, there remains one red egg. You know this egg is yours to keep. As you reach down and touch it, you are gifted with one last seedling of truth that might grow within you. Sit a minute with the red egg and let that wisdom enter your heart and mind.

If you haven’t received the message yet - don’t let yourself worry. It will come. Take the red egg with you. Take it home and put it upon your altar as a constant reminder of the wonders of this journey and the potential of both Spring and the dark places.

You rise now and begin to exit the cave. You take one last look at the white rabbits as they frolic in the safety of the Mother’s embrace. As you reach the stone pathway leading outside, the bright sunlight warms your skin once again and you decide to sit for a moment on the bank of the pool. As you lower your feet into the water so teeming with life, the sudden shock of cold transports you back here with us. Quickly and safely. When you are ready, you can open your eyes. == And look upon Ostara’s eggs awaiting you.