Two Japanese members of the Unification Church suffered serious burns when one of the victims started setting herself on fire at the church headquarters in Gapyeong on Thursday. Both came to South Korea to observe the first death anniversary of its founder, Sun Myung Moon.
The victims were found to be a woman in her 50s and a male minister. Two other members were also injured trying to set themselves alight. According to investigations, the woman poured paint thinner upon herself and the church minister before starting the fire. The incident at the headquarters’ prayer house took place around 4:00 PM. One of the other victims of the fire sustained minor injury when she got trapped in the fire. The Japanese woman is also reported to be mentally unstable.
Some Unification Church members, sometimes called “Moonies,” taken from its cult founder Sun Myung Moon, come to Gapyeong for the first anniversary of the leader’s death on September 3 due to Pneumonia. Although Moon died in September, his followers observe its anniversary on August 23 following the lunar calendar. Moon was 92 when he died, and had 16 children.
The religious group’s complete name is Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity and claims to have 3 million followers. For Moon’s anniversary of Moon’s passing, the group is expecting to have 20,000 members coming to Gapyeong. Besides being the location of the Moonies’ headquarters, members consider the county a holy place. Although it claims to believe in Jesus, it also incorporates beliefs from other religions, including Buddhism and Islam.
[via Capital News]