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Compass – Huichol native mobs in Jalisco state have driven Christians from their homes and threatened to burn them to death, according to news reports. The first wave of 70 Huichol refugees, including at least 12 infants, from the village of Agua Fria , near Mezquitic, fled on foot across the state border into Tepic , Nayarit, beginning August 14. Dozens of others have followed, and the total was expected to reach more than 300. Most arrived ill from the 20-hour walk. Town leaders insisted that if the Huichol Christians wish to return to Agua Fria , they must renounce their faith and return to native traditions and rites – such as drinking liquor and using hallucinatory peyote – which are practiced alongside Roman Catholic customs. One of the few refugees who was able to speak Spanish, Jesus Nunez Carrillo, told La Jornada newspaper on August 19, “Catholics of the town went through the community with machetes and clubs, shouting they were going to kill us and burn us alive.” The town’s three evangelical groups — Baptist, Seventh-day Adventist and Apostolic — were all affected by the persecution. The refugees are temporarily housed in the Seventh Apostolic Church of Tepic, whose pastor is Jesus Estrella Candelario. The threat of being burned to death especially alarmed them as last February traditionalists set fire to the house of Agua Fria evangelical Hermelinda Vazquez de la Cruz. Barely escaping with her children, she suffered severe burns on her back, which now require her to use a walker. Behind the February fire, according to Estrella, was Aurelio Carrillo Gonzalez, a local strongman who enjoyed the backing of municipal president Heleno Lopez Ibarra…[Go To Full Story]