Saturday, August 29, 2015

Prosecutors: Mom who tossed baby said boy was possessed

The gist of the original story and what caught my eye,,,
A woman accused of tossing her newborn son to his death from a fourth-floor window told police an evil spirit had taken over the boy, according to court papers Monday.

Rashida Chowdhury, 21, was being held without bail after her arrest late last week in the death of her month-old son, Rizwan.

Chowdhury initially told detectives that she had been asleep in the bed with her son and awoke to discover he was gone, but she later admitted she threw him out the window, police said. She said that he had been possessed by an evil spirit and had been sick recently, and she was "stopping the pain," according to court papers.

The baby had been hospitalized for three days with a viral infection, but had been discharged the day before his death and was recovering, officials said. He appeared to be in good health otherwise.

Investigators were trying to determine whether Chowdhury suffered from postpartum depression but no clinical diagnoses had been made.

This story is more than just and individual with possible aberrant religious ideations combined with mental illness.  
Beyond those stark facts, little is publicly known about the case or what led to the baby’s death early in the morning on Aug. 7. Still, the episode has resonated deeply among social service providers and advocates who have been trying to address mental health problems, particularly among women, in the growing Bangladeshi population in New York City.
Normally I would just toss this story into the evidence pile of religion hurts.  I don't think I can rightly do that in this case.  As Semple explains,

“The women are becoming victims of everything,” said Rokeya Akhter, a Bangladeshi immigrant who leads the New American Women’s Forum of New York, a group that seeks to empower Bangladeshi immigrant women. “The women come to this country with an American dream in their minds and the situation sometimes is totally different. Women are going through so much frustration and they become depressed.”

The Bangladeshi population — with significant concentrations in the Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Jamaica neighborhoods of Queens — has been one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the city over the past few decades. It now numbers about 76,000, up from about 2,000 in 1980, making it the ninth largest foreign-born group in the city, according to the latest census data.

It is also among the poorest, with poverty and overcrowding rates that are among the highest compared with those of the city’s other large immigrant groups.

Many new Bangladeshi immigrants — and even some who have been here for many years — speak little or no English, further worsening the challenges of integration, advocates and community leaders say.

Arranged marriages are also common, with brides either sent to join their husbands in the United States or traveling with their spouses from Bangladesh.

“A lot of the women are older and come with husbands,” said Alison Karasz, executive director of Sapna NYC, a group based in the Bronx that is focused on the social, economic and health-related needs of South Asian women. “But sometimes young girls come and don’t know their husbands.”
I am in no way condoning or excusing what mom did here. Chowdhury commited a crime no matter what the circumstances.  Killing is wrong period, foreign culture or not.  What the NYTimes did, was remind me that things are always so black and white when media throws out a term like "demon(s)".

Prosecutors: Mom who tossed baby said boy was possessed


  1. I have seen far to many cases of exorcism,witchcraft,possession resulting in torture and murder of innocent people - A recent case of a women being gang raped and then having her eyes gouged out by her sister was particularly sickening.

    This is the answer to the "whats the harm" question regarding any form of magical thinking.and why it needs to be challenged at every opportunity.

  2. Funny you mention that case Chris as I am writing a post on it now :)