Why this site?

Here at What if they were Muslim we question what would happen if a Jewish, Christian, Hindu, ______(insert religion of choice) were to commit a crime in the name of their faith. Would it be treated the same way if a Muslim committed the exact same crime? Would very little emphasis be put on the perpetrators religion? Would it be stressed that the act is an aberration, a misrepresentation of the religion? Would the religion be mentioned at all?

Another Tid-Bit...

WITWM is not a site that opines on the “what if” scenario of your favorite Hollywood star being a Muslim. It has nothing to do with Angelina Jolie or Johnny Depp, etc. It has everything to do with the double standards in both media and pop culture that perpetuate the myth that Islam is inherently more violent than other religions or the root cause of misdeeds by Muslims.

Archive: Animist

Boy, 8, ‘Marries’ 61-Year-Old Mother-Of-Five (Because His Dead Ancestors Said So)

sanele masilela marries helen shabangu

Sealed with a kiss: Sanele Masilela and Helen Shabangu on their wedding day

Sanele Masilela, 8, ‘Marries’ Mother-Of-Five Helen Shabangu, 61, In Tshwane, South Africa!


An eight-year-old schoolboy has ‘married’ a 61-yearold woman in Tshwane, South Africa.

Sanele Masilela tied the knot with Helen Shabangu, who is already married and a mother of five.

Sanele said he married Helen in accordance with the wishes of his dead ancestors, a message his family took so seriously they provided Helen with £500 and paid a further £1,000 for the celebration.

Dressed in a bow tie and tiny silver suit, Sanele, the youngest of five children, exchanged rings in front of 100 guests and even exchanged a kiss with his new bride.

It’s already shocked the community but the family has defended the ceremony, saying it is a ritual and not legally binding.

Sanele’s 46-year-old mum, Patience Masilela said: “This is the first time this has happened in the family.

“Sanele is named after his grandfather, who was never had a white wedding before he died so asked Sanele to get married. He chose Helen because he loves her.

“By doing this we made the ancestors happy. If we hadn’t done what my son had asked then something bad would have happened in the family.

“I didn’t have a problem with it because I know it’s what the ancestors wanted and it would make them happy.”

The widow, who works at a recycling centre, added: “I would say that this is not wrong.

“Sanele was fine and he was happy about the ceremony and it was what he wanted. He was happy to get married and very excited.”

sanele masilela marries helen shabangu

The ceremony is ritual and not legally binding, with both parties having since returned to their ‘normal’ lives

Sanele and his bride did not sign a marriage certificate and do not have to live together. Both have gone back to their normal lives.

Sanele today said he hoped he would have a “proper” wedding to a woman his own age when he was older.

He added: “I told my mother that I wanted to get married because I really did want to.

“I’m happy that I married Helen – but I will go to school and study hard.

“When I’m older I will marry a lady my own age.”

Despite being old enough to be his grandmother, bride Helen, whose children are aged between 37 and 27, was happy with the arrangement.

Helen, who also works at a recycling centre, said: “I’m married and have five kids of my own, but I know that this is what the ancestors wanted – and now they are happy. It is a ritual. We are just playing now, but it is a sign that he will get married one day.”

Her husband of 30 years, Alfred, 65, said: “My kids and I are happy.

The builder added: “We don’t have problems with it but some of the community members were shocked.”

Nigeria unrest: Mosque attacked in Benin City

Nigeria unrest: Mosque attacked in Benin City

A mosque and Islamic school have been attacked and set alight in the southern Nigerian city of Benin, police say.

A Nigerian Red Cross spokesman told the BBC that five people had been killed and six injured.

It follows a separate attack on a different mosque in the city on Monday.

In recent weeks, southerners, who are mostly Christians or animists, have been the targets of deadly attacks by the Islamist Boko Haram group, which operates in the mainly Muslim north.

A leader of the Hausa community in Benin told the BBC’s Hausa Service that 7,000 northerners were seeking refuge in police and army barracks in the city.

The Nigerian Red Cross confirmed to the BBC that they were registering northerners at police stations and army barracks.

Spiral of violence

Two cars at the centre housing the mosque and Islamic school were also torched, police said.

The attack is the latest in a spiral of sectarian violence that has seen many southerners living in the north flee their homes.

The BBC’s Naziru Mikailu in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, said the latest violence started in Benin on Monday when a group attacked a mosque, leaving 10 people injured.

Then, in Gusau, capital of northern Zamfara state, youths attacked a church. Police made 19 arrests, our reporter says.

Back in Benin on Tuesday, a mosque and Islamic centre were attacked and set alight in a different area from Monday’s attack. Police told the BBC that 10 people had been arrested.

A group of youths tried to attack a Hausa community leader’s house but it was defended by Hausa youths and the police then intervened, our reporter says.

Nigerian writer and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka blamed the violence of recent months on leaders who put their own religion above national unity. He said the situation was not dissimilar to the one that existed before the last civil war that erupted in Biafra in the 1960s.

“We see the nation heading towards civil war. We know that the civil war was preceded by problems – serious killings on both sides of the regional divide,” he told the BBC.

“When you get a situation when a bunch of people can go into a place of worship and open fire through the windows you’ve reached a certain dismal watershed in the life of that nation.

“There’s no question at all, whatsoever. Those who have created this faceless army have lost control of that army.”

The latest unrest comes on the second day of a general strike over the removal of a fuel subsidy.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in many cities in protest about the doubling of the price of petrol since the beginning of the year. Six people died in the unrest on Monday.

South Sudan clashes: Murles exact revenge in Jonglei

South Sudan clashes: Murles exact revenge in Jonglei

Some 57 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in a revenge attack in South Sudan, officials say.

Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said members of the Murle community had attacked their Lou Nuer rivals in Jonglei state.

Earlier this month, a force of some 6,000 Lou Nuer fighters went on the rampage, forcing tens of thousands of Murles to flee their homes.

The two groups have a long history of stealing each other's cattle.

Some 1,000 people have been killed in the past year.

Following the recent clashes, extra UN peacekeepers and soldiers were rushed to the area and Jonglei was declared a disaster zone.

The UN has launched a "massive emergency operation" to help some 50,000 affected people who fled the town of Pibor.

Mr Benjamin said that so many of those killed in the latest attack were women and children because the raid was carried out in the evening and night, when many were asleep in their huts.


Journalist Hannah McNeish, in the South Sudanese capital Juba, says many people are asking why the UN and army have been unable to prevent the latest clashes.

But the UN points out that Jonglei state is the size of Bangladesh and the peacekeepers cannot be everywhere at the same time.

Cattle vendettas are common in South Sudan, as are other clashes between rival groups. The UN says some 350,000 people were displaced because of intercommunal violence last year.

This presents a major challenge to the government of the newly independent state, which also faces cross-border tensions with its northern neighbour Sudan.

South Sudan is one of the world's poorest regions - it gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 and has hardly any roads, railways, schools or clinics following two decades of conflict, which have left it awash with weapons.

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