Fire at dawn
The Spirit Center Auta de Souza, located in the Especial Area 14, on the main avenue of Sobradinho II, Federal District, was set on fire in the early hours of the day January 29th last. The fire started at about 2:45 a.m. and a man, Valdecy de Lima Silva, 24, was injured and had to be taken to the Regional Hospital of Sobradinho after suffering burns in the feet, face and arms.
The social worker responsible for the site, Guilherme Varandas, told Correio Braziliense report: "I've done the registration of the occurrence at the police station. We are very sad by it all. But we will not stop our charity work. We will continue with faith." He added: "There was sign of forced entry. A grid of one of the windows was smashed. In two years, this is the second time we suffered some kind of attack."
The neighboring lot, Tamires de Lima Silva Alves, 27, sister of the young man who was burned in the fire, explained what happened: "I woke up with a start. One of my brothers shouted that the center was on fire and ran to try to help. Valdecy grabbed a hose, but as the flames were very high, he eventually got burnt." Tamires lives there for over 18 years and said that the site had already been hacked. (More information on the event can be viewed at: http://goo.gl/mhwwGx/.)
The crime took place one week after being set up by the Federal District (GDF) to the Special Commission for the Repression of Crimes of Racial Discrimination, religious or sexual orientation or against the Elderly and Disabled. This measure was taken after a series of attacks against religious communities of African origin, which amounted to 15 occurrences in 2015. So, last October, representatives of about 50 yards of the Federal District and surrounding areas were in the Legislative Chamber, in open court, to try to preserve the African religion.
In view of the fire in the Spirit Center Auta de Souza, Paulo Maia, president of the Spirit Federation of Federal District, released the following statement:
"The Spirit Federation of the Federal District (FEDF) hereby regret the criminal act that resulted in the fire in the Spirit Center Auta de Souza, in Sobradinho II, at the farm 14 Rural Core 2, which took place last morning, January 29th.
The fire partially destroyed the center's facilities and also caused injury to a victim. The damage could have been worse if there were no neighbors’ attitude who helped fight the fire, and the work of the fire department.
The Spirit Center Auta de Souza has worked since the 1970s. During these years it has won reputation in Flowers Floor community for religious and social activities.
It is difficult to understand and accept that an institution of this profile is the victim of a hate crime!
This episode shows that religious tolerance is at risk in Brazil. Worth mentioning that similar events have targeted other segments have been reported frequently in the Federal District and in the country.
The FEDF expects that authorities look into at it swiftly and legally accountable the perpetrators of the criminal act.
It similarly proclaims that respect and the right of freedom of faith and creed professed values are in Brazil, an achievement that cannot be tainted.
We hope that Christian values, from the other Eastern religions, African descent and citizenship are defended and preserved by society and Brazilian institutions.
This act, act by ignorance of the divine laws, can strengthen efforts to integrate religious leaders and society in the development of culture of peace, so necessary to live in harmony."
We make our own the words of colleague Paulo Maia.
It must put a stop to religious intolerance that prevails in our country, because what happened in Sobradinho is not an isolated act, as shown in the series of similar episodes that have occurred in recent years in a nation whose population overwhelmingly of being proud to call itself Christian. But the Christian, it is good that everyone remembers, recognized himself by his works and not only for his beliefs.
About it, Marcus Braga wrote the article "Tolerance is an ugly word," published in the same edition, whose reading we recommend to our readers.