Criminals Force an Iyalorixa to Destroy Her Own Terreiro in Nova Iguassu, Rio de Janeiro

Originally published September 13, 2017 in Portuguese by Andre Coelho at

Translated for by Melissa Oliver

One more Candomble terreiro was attacked by thugs in Nova Iguassu, in the Baixada Fluminense borough of Rio de Janeiro. Seven armed criminals invaded the temple, in the Ambai neighborhood, during a worship service.  They forced the Iyalorixa…to destroy the sacred images at gunpoint.

The entire act was recorded and shared by the criminals on social media. Witnesses told CBN that the thugs even urinated on the Orisa, saying they wouldn’t permit the practice of “witchcraft” in that community.

The “filhos de santo,” as the faithful are called, were forced to leave the location. Criminals used their guns to rip ileke Orisha off of their necks.

In the videos, it’s possible to hear the criminals using Christian terms while the woman breaks sacred images.

videointoleranciapng_610x340“Break everything, break everything! Blow out the candles, because the blood of Jesus has power! Rip all those ileke! All the bad has to be undone, in the name of Jesus! Break everything because you’re the Devil’s chief! You’re the one that sponsors this mess! Break everything! Rip all the ileke, knock it down, I want you to break all of them!”

The images of another attack also circulated on social media. The initial information obtained by the Commission to Combat Religious Intolerance showed that the incident occurred in Parque Flora, also in Nova Iguassu. In the recording, a man is forced by criminals to destroy his own Candomblé terreiro.

The thugs threatened the victim with a baseball bat with the word “dialogue” written on it. They told the victim he would be dead if he tried to open another terreiro in the favela. The group yelled out the name of a gang during the attack, in addition to calling on Jesus and other common terms used by Evangelical Christians.

“This is just a conversation I’m having with you guys, the next time I’ll kill you! Wicked, delinquent! Jesus comes first! When you go and prostrate there in that doghouse, you ask Jesus’ permission first! Don’t you know the “man” doesn’t want macumba here? Why are you pleading?…Break everything! I’m the honor and glory of Jesus! You think that because I’m not in the favela that this s**t will go on? I already warned you! If I catch you again or if you try to build this s**t again, I’ll kill you!”

Activists who defend religious liberties condemned the new violent incidences.  The president of the commission, Ivanir dos Santos, believes that the events in the last few months are connected. For him, the criminals are acting under the guidance of ill-intentioned religious leaders who aim to increase their influence in poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

“This is something very well orchestrated and thought out in terms of occupying geographic locations. It’s a sign that there’s bad religious leadership involved in this. Because the the average citizen just doesn’t wake up, from night to day, and has the vision ‘ah, Jesus told me to, so I went and did it.’ That’s not what’s happening. They’re using a rhetoric, a well-constructed discourse. So, someone put this in their heads.”

Yesterday, the Secretary of Security, Roberto Sa, met with the state Secretary of Human Rights, Atila Nunes, and the chief of Civil Police, Carlos Leba, to discuss the possible creation of a Delegacy of Racial Crimes and Crimes of Intolerance. We got in contact with the Civil Police because of the two videos, but we still haven’t heard back.

Last week, CBN showed data from the Justice Tribunal of Rio that show that since 2012, the state hadn’t registered complaints of prejudice or defacing religious items.