Belgian Jehovah’s Witnesses sexual abuse scandal


This 2015 video from the USA says about itself:

Candace Conti: Former Jehovah’s Witness Takes on Church over Sex Abuse Allegations

Candace Conti says the church failed to protect her from a predatory pedophile, which Jehovah’s Witnesses has denied.

Translated from Belgian daily De Standaard, 3 April 2019:

Already seventy possible victims of abuse report to the Jehovah’s Witnesses hotline

The scandal of abuse within Jehovah’s Witnesses first erupted abroad, but has also received attention in Belgium since last week’s Pano [TV show] report. There are seventy possible victims reporting to the “Reclaimed Voices Belgium” hotline.

Since two weeks, “Reclaimed Voices” has also a hotline in our country, and in the aftermath of the Pano broadcast it is receiving “disturbing messages”. “Almost a week after the broadcast, there are more than seventy people involved in sexual abuse or domestic and psychological violence”, according to a press release from Reclaimed Voices Belgium. All reports have so far come from Flanders.

According to the hotline, the victims also talk about the serious psychological damage that the exclusion by Jehovah’s Witnesses from the community entails. “In the conversations we have had so far with victims, the exclusion trauma appears to have a greater impact in certain cases than the abuse itself”, writes Reclaimed Voices Belgium.

Abroad, the scandal started earlier. In the Netherlands, the theme gained momentum in early 2018 after the establishment of the non-profit association “Reclaimed Voices”, which collects testimonies about sexual abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The hotline can always be reached via its website.

This 28 March 2019 video says about itself:

Jehovah’s Witnesses’ child sexual abuse scandal: state intelligence to home in on sects

Belgian justice minister Koen Geens … wants Jehovah’s Witnesses wishing to leave the organisation to receive help from the sects’ watchdog. The minister was speaking after VRT’s Pano programme revealed widespread sexual abuse of children among the Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation.

Also from De Standaard, 29 March 2019 (translated):

‘Jehovah’s Witnesses protect criminals

As a Jehovah’s Witnesses’ elder, Kurt De Kerf from Sint-Niklaas town had to support a probable pedophile

“My dedication to Jehovah went very far”, says Kurt De Kerf (55) from Sint-Niklaas. “If my children needed shoes, then I usually didn’t buy them. I gave the money to the organization and believed that Jehovah would take care of the children’s shoes.”

On Wednesday evening, De Kerf testified anonymously in the Pano report on sexual abuse that is said to be covered up by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Today the father of two sons and installer of fire extinguishers choose to leave the anonymity. “Because I have nothing to hide, and because it is important that this finally comes into the open.” …

“Jehovah’s Witnesses have been protecting criminals for years. I know, because I have worked on it myself as an elder.”

No worse than drunkenness

Elders are male Witnesses who lead their congregational pastoral ministry. Kurt De Kerf, whose father and mother are also Jehovah’s Witnesses, took office in the 1980s when he was barely 25 years old. He also became a member of the internal legal committee. “Crimes are rarely reported to secular justice”, says De Kerf. “In the Legal Committee, elders themselves investigate and punish crimes, ranging from intoxication, corruption to adultery.”

In the mid-1990s, Kurt De Kerf, along with other elders, had to consider a case of child abuse. A teenage girl from the community said she was being harassed by her father. “I was very impressed”, says De Kerf. “I knew for myself that I had absolutely no ability to deal with such allegations. I worked professionally as a house painter, so I was not trained at all for situations like that. Just like the other elders aren’t. ”

According to De Kerf, elders have a kind of scenario with procedures to follow in such situations. “The first step was to contact the head office in Kraainem. There they asked me if I had informed the police. I hadn’t done that yet. “Keep it like that. We will discuss internally what the further steps will be”, they said.”

A few days later he was told that he should handle the case in the same way as any other, and not unlike, eg, a case of drunkenness. The father denied that he had abused his daughter. Because there were no other witnesses, we had to leave the matter to Jehovah. Although I was almost certain that the man was guilty, I followed that order.”

According to De Kerf, the man was later excluded, because he was said to also have been guilty of other facts. “Then, against the will of my organization, I advised that girl to go to the police. She did that, but two weeks later she withdrew her statement under pressure by her father.”

Kurt De Kerf then continued to chair other lawsuits. “One day I had to decide to exclude the girl from the community. To escape her father, she had started living together with her boyfriend and that was forbidden.”

He got remorse. Yet it took years before De Kerf decided to turn his back on the Witnesses. “I went through a very tough period. My oldest son went to live alone, because he felt being curtailed by Jehovah. My wife had a hard time with that and undertook a suicide attempt. I was able to save her in the nick of time. But because of our family problems, I had to resign as an elder. My wife was also not allowed to consult a psychologist who was not a Witness. Then I realized that I no longer wanted to be part of this type of organization.”

It was a very tough decision. “We literally ended up in a black hole. I remember how I went to the fair with my youngest son for the very first time. I felt guilty for days. It took me years to build a life without Jehovah.”

This 28 March 2019 Dutch language Belgian Pano TV video shows Mr De Kerf speaking on Belgian Jehovah’s Witnesses sexual abuse.

Belgian government apology for stealing African children


This 2015 video is called Human zoos, dunking booths, African dodger, Hit the trigger.

Among the images in this video is an African little girl in a human zoo in Belgium in 1958, fed bananas like a caged ape.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Belgium apologizes for abducting children from colonies

Belgian Prime Minister Michel will apologize tomorrow at a special ceremony for the way children from mixed relationships were treated in the middle of the last century. The children from Africa, called ‘métis‘ in Belgium, were systematically removed from their mothers and sent to Belgium to grow up in orphanages.

The Catholic Church, which played a major role in abducting the children, already apologized years ago.

In 2017.

The children were Rwandan or Congolese

or Burundian

, those countries were then colonies of Belgium. After they were taken away, they did not automatically acquire Belgian nationality and many have been stateless for years.

The apologies come after last year the parliament called on the government to help those involved to obtain Belgian nationality. The MPs also wanted the victims to get help in the search for their biological parents, especially the mothers.

Now, about 70 years later … when many of the children and nearly all of the parents are already dead …

Sensitive

The discussion about the colonial past is extremely sensitive in Belgium. The renewed Africa Museum was recently reopened, but not by King Philip, precisely because of that sensitivity.

That museum was once built to honour King Leopold II, who considered the resource-rich Congo as his personal colony. The museum has overhauled the old colonial decor and now gives more explanation about the past and the dark sides of the occupation. …

Some more explanation, but not enough yet, according to critics.

Critical report

Belgium also recently refused to apologize after a critical United Nations report, in which the abuses and atrocities committed during the colonial occupation of Congo were denounced.

Belgian cardinal Godfried Danneels dies


This 11 September 2010 video by Australian broadcasting organisation ABC says about itself:

Pedophile Horrors in Belgium In Church, Politics, Social Services

No congregation escaped Belgian sex abuse. “It’s the Church’s Dutroux”, referring to mid-1990s trauma in Belgium + arrest of serial rapist / child killer Marc Dutroux, serving life for six rapes and four murders.

Read more here.

The video is also about the ‘Legionaries of Christ‘, an international Roman Catholic order, founded by a pedophile priest with close connections to Pope John Paul II.

Translated from Belgian (Roman Catholic) daily De Standaard today:

Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Archbishop Emeritus of Mechelen-Brussels, died Thursday morning in Mechelen. Cardinal Jozef De Kesel reports this. Danneels was 85 years old. …

The role that Danneels played in the abuse case of Bruges bishop Roger Vangheluwe in 2010 is a blot on his career. Recorded conversations that Danneels had with Vangheluwe and a victim showed that Danneels had tried to cover up the affair.

The Standaard might have added the discovery during a police raid in Danneels’ archiepiscopal palace of secret photos about the scandal of Belgian child rapist and murderer Marc Dutroux.

Belgian carnival anti-Semitism conflict


This 5 March 2019 video says about itself:

Belgium: anti-Semitism row over stereotyped Jews in carnival float

A float featuring stereotyped Jewish figures at a carnival near Brussels has been widely criticised as anti-Semitic. The float in the town of Aalst, 25km (15 miles) from the European Parliament, featured the grinning figures of orthodox Jews standing on large piles of money. Local Jewish organisations said it was “typical of Nazism of 1939“.

Anti-Semitic carnival float in Mainz, 1939 nazi Germany. Belga photo

This photo shows an anti-Semitic carnival float in Mainz, February 1939 nazi Germany. It shows an anti-Semitically stereotyped Jew, with the caption ‘Purely Aryan’ on his hat. A sign says: Aryan business. The float mocks Jews who, according to nazi propaganda, cheated, claiming falsely that their businesses had become ‘Aryan’.

That 1939 nazi float photo ‘is a black and white version of the recent Aalst carnival float’; Christoph Busch says. According to Busch, there were many more similar anti-Semitic carnival floats in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.

Mr Busch is the director of the Holocaust memorial museum in the former SS Mechelen transit camp. During World War II, the German occupiers deported from that camp over 25,000 Belgian Jews and Roma to the nazi death camps. Only 1,240 of them survived.

Translated from Belgian daily De Standaard today:

The European Commission also calls the float with Jewish caricatures in Aalst “unthinkable.” But mayor Christoph D’Haese continues to defend his carnival revelers.

Anti-Semitic or carnivalesque?

By our editor Simon Grymonprez

“This is purely anti-Semitism. Even if it was not their intention to be anti-Semitic, then this testifies to a lack of historical awareness and good taste.” Hans Knoop, the spokesman for the Forum of Jewish Organizations, does not mince words: the float that passed this weekend through the town center of Aalst went too far for the Jewish community.

The Aalst carnival group De Vismooil’n came up with a float with caricature dolls of Jews, with big hook noses, curls and a cash box. With this, De Vismooil’n wanted to make clear: this year we are saving our money for a more beautiful float next year.

The Forum of Jewish Organizations and the Coordination Committee of Jewish Organizations in Belgium promptly filed a complaint with the federal Equal Opportunities Center Unia. They will also ask the United Nations to remove Aalst Carnival from the list of immaterial cultural heritage.

… The carnival revelers claim it was humour, but Busch does not find that an argument. “This is dehumanizing and hurtful to the Jewish community. It may not be intended in an evil way, but this contributes to anti-Semitism. You give anti-Semitism a legitimacy in the form of entertainment.’

… D’Haese continues to defend his carnival revelers.

D’Haese is the mayor of Aalst. Of the right-wing N-VA party. However, fellow (Jewish; Antwerp city) N-VA politician André Gantman does consider the float anti-Semitic.

UMESCO condemns Aalst cardinal float: here.

The Belgian anti-racism watchdog says that the float did not break the law.

The Belgian Guys Who Made The Anti-Semitic Carnival Float Aren’t Sorry: here.