(artigo em português: clique aqui)
São Paulo – Minister of the Secretariat of Promotion of Racial Equality (Seppir), Luiza Barros, said today (21/jan/2013) that the attacks on afro-brazilian religions got to an unbearable level. “The worse is not only the big number, but the gravity of the cases which have been happening. It’s physical aggressions, threatens of depredation of houses and communities. We consider it has come to an unbearable point on which it’s not only about religious dispute, but, evidently, a dispute for civilizational values”, said the Minister, as she got to the act for the National Day of Fighting Against Religious Intolerance at Vale do Anhangabaú, on the center of São Paulo.
The number of complaints of religious intolerance got on the Human Rights Secretariat Hotline grew over 7 times in 2012, if compared to the year of 2011, going from 15 to 109 registered cases.
Video raises the discussion on religious intolerance [in portuguese]
For the Minister, the attacks are mainly motivated by some groups of evangelical*. “Some sectors, especially pentecostal evangelical, wish these manifestations would completely disappear of Brazilian society, which certainly will not occur”, said Luisa, and added that this week should announce a plan of support to african rooted religions. “We want these communities to have benefits from public politics”, she completed.
On the act, promoted by São Paulo city hall, the Secretary of Municipal Promotion of Racial Equality was released. According to the mayor, Fernando Haddad, this celebration is a way of making people who still have prejudice against afro-brazilian religions reflect about the importance of tolerance. “I think the expressive majority of the inhabitants of São Paulo embrace this cause for peaceful acquaintanceship, with respect and the due tolerance towards other people. Now, there is a small minority to which the message is being told: a big majority wants to live peacefully”, he said.
The message for tolerance is also being promoted by the multireligious group Paulistanos pela Paz (Paulistanos for Peace, freely translated), who since 8 years act to raise awareness, especially to youth. “We coordinate visits to schools and universities to give lectures, seminars, and raise these questions. Intolerance comes from tha inability of co-living with the difference”, said Reverend Mahesh, coordinator of the group and representer of Hare Krishna Hinduism.
Member of the Cultural Center Ilê-Ifa, maestro Roberto Casemiro, also defended the acting with youth as a way of beating prejudice. On Casemiro’s opinion, for many youngsters, especially the ones involved on groups that promote hate such as skinheads, there’s a lack of knowledge and of culture. “Who hasn’t got any knowledge, nor culture, has no respect”.
Lutheran evangelical pastor Carlos Mussukopf believes the best way of avoiding prejudice is uniting different religions around common goals and ideas. “We should look for something that unite us, unifies us, what we have in common. And we should also go from theory to praxis. There are so many challenges on the society we live in, that demand a unified action also from religions. Like the matter of people who live on the streets, or nature”, he said.
*evangelical is the direct translation of the portuguese word “evangélico”, but it might be different from the original meaning on other languages. I’ll try to write more about this.