He refused to take to a terreiro a family dressed according to their religion, and is now under police investigation.
by Massimo Introvigne
Violence against Afro-Brazilian religions such as Candomblé and Umbanda, labeled as “cults” and even as forms of “Satanism” by radical Evangelical Christians is an endemic problem in Brazil.
Physical violence, however, normally occurs at the end of an itinerary that starts with daily acts of intolerance and discrimination.
For this reason, what may look like a minor incident that occurred at the end of last month in Duque de Caxias, in Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area, deserves some attention, and is rightly being investigated in view of a criminal prosecution.
Taís Fraga, her two daughters, and her mother-in-law called a Uber to be taken to their terreiro of Candomblé. Taís and the daughters were dressed in the typical garbs of their religion. When the Uber driver saw their clothes, he refused to take them in his car. The scene occurred in view of a surveillance camera, and was recorded.
Uber initially refused to give to the victims the name of the driver, although it later claimed that he had been suspended, and that the company is against all forms of discrimination and will “cooperate with the authorities according to the law.” The federal district attorneys for citizens’ rights Jaime Mitropoulos, Julio Araujo and Aline Caixeta had summoned Uber to supply the driver’s data without delay.
Taís Fraga commented that discrimination and intolerance against Candomblé are on the rise. Even forms of daily discrimination such as the one they suffered cause considerable distress among the believers. Children, in particular, feel bullied and humiliated.