The head of the association which represents priests and priestesses from Haiti's indigenous Voodoo religion has claimed that the religion's followers are being discriminated against by Christians when it comes to the distribution of aid.
As hundreds of houngans (male voodoo priests) - no mention is made of there being Mambos, or priestesses, present - met at the weekend in the town of Gonaives in Northern Haiti to discuss what their plan of action should be following the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit their country on January 12 their leader Max Beauvoir criticized the discrimination he is adamant is being practiced against the followers of Voodoo, a religion which combines Roman Catholicism with traditional beliefs that originate in West Africa.
Stating that it had been a two-week "fight" to secure the delivery of food that arrived in his hometown of Mariani in recent days, Mr Beauvoir is quoted by the Telegraph as saying too:The evangelicals are in control and they take everything for themselves. They have the advantage that they control the airport where everything is stuck. They take everything they get to their own people and that's a shame. Everyone is suffering the same and has the same needs. We are not asking for anything more than anyone else. We're just asking for it to be fair
When reporting on the case of 10 U.S. Baptists arrested for attempting to take 33 Haitian children out of the earthquake-torn country without government permission, the Associated Press also quoted Mr Beauvoir, a biochemist educated at the Sorbonne (University of Paris) and founder in 1996 in Washington D.C. of the Temple of Yehwe.
Mr Beauvoir, whose age is given as 75 by the Telegraph but may possibly be younger, said:There are many who come here with religious ideas that belong more in the time of the Inquisition. These types of people believe they need to save our souls and our bodies from ourselves. We need compassion, not proselytizing now, and we need aid — not just aid going to people of the Christian faith
And in addition Mr Beauvoir has been critical of the manner in which those killed in the Haitian earthquake have been buried.
Less than a week after the disaster Mr Beauvoir met with Haiti's President Rene Preval and complained that the mass graves that had been dug were "not respecting the dignity" of those who died.
According to Reuters, which noted that over half of the nine million people living in Haiti practice Voodoo and therefore believe to some extent in zombies, although Mr Beauvoir has cautioned against accepting the Hollywood version of Voodoo and zombies, the man now suggesting that stopping Haitians practicing the religion of their ancestors would be "like asking an American to stop eating hamburgers" declared:It is not in our culture to bury people in such a fashion
U.S. TV evangelist Pat Robertson made the headlines when he asserted that the Haitian earthquake was the result of the people of the country making a "pact with the devil".
While Mr Beauvoir says that he knows little of Mr Robertson and rejects the idea that the earthquake was an act of God, or indeed the Devil, the Telegraph is reporting comments made by at least two followers of Voodoo who appear to disagree with him.
Monique Henri, a 36-year-old follower of Voodoo seen wearing a cross when she was interviewed as she waited to collect rice from the World Food Programme (WFP) - her location is not entirely clear but may be Mariani - observed:The earthquake happened because people were sinners so God was angry, because people did wrong
Then there is Haitian TV and radio personality Kompe Filo.
The Guardian first highlighted Mr Filo's belief that Voodoo warned of the earthquake six months ago and his comment that:God is angry against humanity – not just Haiti but all humanity. This is a message that man must change, and reconnect with the natural world around him
Now the Telegraph repeats Mr Filo's statement about the anger of God, adding that he has remarked:We have a lot of beliefs modern people should believe in. For example we believe that trees have spirits which we should not harm otherwise we will all suffer