Rabbi who cut Children, What if he Were Muslim?

Rabbi who cut children, what if he were Muslim?

Rabbi Elior Noam Chen
Rabbi Elior Noam Chen

A Rabbi has been accused by Israeli officials of burning and cutting toddlers as part of a purification ritual. These stories are ugly and cast a dark shadow on adherents of faith, but one clearly notices how this case is being treated as a lone wolf acting out of a misguided direction. The case is rightly being cast as an aberration and does not impugn all of Judaism as the source of this Rabbi’s criminality. One has to ask though, that well worn question: “what if he were Muslim?”

A self-appointed rabbi accused by Israeli officials of burning and cutting toddlers as part of a purification ritual will be extradited from Brazil, an official said Thursday.

Elior Noam Chen will be picked up Oct. 27 in Brasilia by two Israeli agents, a Brazilian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to discuss the case.

An Israeli embassy official also confirmed that extradition was imminent for Chen.

Chen and several of his followers allegedly used knives, hammers and other instruments to abuse children as young as 3 and 4 years old in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit in February and March 2008.

Chen allegedly hit the children in the head and face and burned their hands. One child sustained permanent brain damage and is in a vegetative state, according to Israeli officials.

In Israel, Chen faces charges of child abuse, violence against minors and
conspiracy.

Brazilian police arrested Chen in Sao Paulo in June 2008 after a 45-day
manhunt. Police have not said how or when he and his family arrived in the South American country.

He fought extradition and his case was heard last May by Brazil’s Supreme
Court, which found there was cause for Chen to stand trial for allegedly
subjecting eight children to intense physical and mental suffering because they were supposedly possessed by the devil.

An appeal to the court was rejected last month.

His extradition had to be formalized by Brazil’s Justice and Foreign
Ministries, and final approval had to be given by Brazil’s President Luiz
Inacio Lula da Silva

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