Mon, 22 Jan 2018

Jewish leaders call on Inner North London coroner to quit

Jewish leaders have called for the resignation of a coroner in north London after she refused to prioritise burials on religious grounds.


Witch trials in the context of the Reformation

A new study by two economists argues that witch hunts were a result of "non-price competition" between the Catholic and Protestant churches. That competition was for the hearts and minds of a population that was pious, superstitious and easily persuaded of the need to stamp out evil.

The Economist

Ireland: Plans to withdraw state funding from Catholic counselling agencies discriminating against LGBT couples

At the moment, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs is paying at least €1.6 million to religious counselling groups that have policies of refusing homosexual couples for marriage or relationship counselling.

The Times

Pope Francis accuses sex abuse victims of slander

Pope Francis has accused victims of Chile's most notorious paedophile of slander – an astonishing end to a visit meant to help heal the wounds of a sex abuse scandal that has cost the Catholic Church its credibility in the country.

The Herald Scotland

Kenya is on the verge of either decriminalising gay sex, or making the current laws worse

A landmark case where three judges are set to review the existing penal code which outlaws "unnatural sex" has the potential to decriminalise gay sex, or make the law a lot worse. The law is currently being reviewed, as it is seen to be too "vague."

Gay Times

Christian UKIP MEP resigns over shifting on religious issues

Jonathan Arnott MEP has resigned from his position and said UKIP has "significantly shifted its position on cultural and religious issues".

Premier Christian Radio

Tanmanjeet Dhesi: Britain's first turban-wearing Sikh MP reveals 'disillusioning' extent of racial abuse

From having his turban ripped off at school, Tanmanjeet Dhesi went on to excel and has now reached the House of Commons. He tells Robin de Peyer about his journey from the Punjab to Parliament.

Evening Standard

Jewish Labour group accuses party of failing to act on antisemitism complaints

The bitter Labour party controversy over antisemitism erupted again on Saturday night, as the main organisation representing its Jewish members accused the leadership of failing to deal with a "vast backlog" of complaints and of allowing a second inquiry into Ken Livingstone to get "stuck in limbo".

The Guardian

Indonesia: Christian ‘chooses’ sharia punishment for selling alcohol in Indonesia

Jono Simbolon was whipped on Friday, 19 January, in front of a large cheering crowd, making him the third non-Muslim in the country to suffer a public flogging. He was forced to kneel as a masked man whipped him repeatedly outside a mosque in Aceh, Indonesia's only province to enact Sharia law.

International Business Times

USA: Supreme Court to decide if Trump's so-called Muslim ban is legal

The US Supreme Court has said it will decide the legality of Donald Trump's so-called Muslim travel ban – a case that will likely be an examination of his presidential powers.

The Independent

Fri, 19 Jan 2018

The Government mustn't dance to the Catholic Church's tune on faith schools - NSS article

Plans to create more religiously selective faith schools appear to be back on the table. Stephen Evans says the Government risks recklessly neglecting the civic purpose of state education if it presses ahead with lifting the 50% cap on faith-based admissions.

Huffington Post

Senior Tory Crispin Blunt plots rebellion against plan to scrap faith school cap

A senior Tory MP today said he will vote against Theresa May's plan to allow new faith schools to apply 100% religious discrimination in admissions. Mr Blunt is the third backbench Tory this week to signal reservations about scrapping the rule that new faith schools must offer half their places to pupils regardless of their religious background.

Evening Standard

Church of England report calls for more state funding of England's cathedrals

The Church of England - one of the richest organisations in the country – has called more state funding for cathedrals. A significant number of England's 42 historic Anglican cathedrals are at "severe financial risk" and some have ineffective and under-resourced management, an investigation set up by the archbishops of Canterbury and York has found.

The Guardian

Fear of coroner prompts Jews to move before they die

Claims that Jews are now considering moving if they don't get special priority from the St Pancras coroner.

Jewish Chronicle

Home Office rejects claim of humanist asylum seeker unable to identify Plato or Aristotle

The Home Office has rejected a claim for asylum on the grounds that the claimant, when asked to name ancient Greek philosophers who were humanists, did not name Plato and Aristotle. The claimant, Hamza bin Walayat, an ex-Muslim 'apostate' and member of Humanists UK, would, as a humanist, face ostracism, violence and persecution if returned to his native Pakistan.


USA: New federal office will help medical providers discriminate and deny treatment on religious grounds

The Trump administration is creating an office to protect the 'religious rights' of medical providers, including those who may oppose abortion or transgender rights, in a decision that is likely to be a lightning rod for controversy.

The Guardian

USA: Donald Trump claims he supports gay equality, one day after supporting legal discrimination

Donald Trump has claimed he supports gay equality, one day after he signed a proclamation supporting legal discrimination against gay people. The US leader this week signed a Presidential proclamation on religious freedom that appeared to back the freedom to discriminate against LGBT people.

Pink News

Campaigner Leyla Hussein on why FGM is a British problem too

The psychotherapist talks about her 'haven' and being attacked for calling the brutal practice child abuse.

Financial Times

Rights activists, religious freedom ‘under attack’ in Malaysia

With elections due in August this year, the Malaysian government continued to shift toward a more conservative Islam while cracking down on critics in 2017, despite promoting itself as an administration that upholds moderation, a human rights group said.

Asian Correspondent

Ban on Bollywood film Padmaavat lifted despite beheading threat against actress

India's supreme court has overturned a ban imposed by several states on the release of a controversial Bollywood film about a mythical Hindu queen.

Sky News

MPs shocked by tales of Christian persecution

MPs have spoken of their shock at hearing first-hand accounts from Christians around the world who are being persecuted for their faith. Several politicians including Labour's Ben Bradshaw and the Conservative's Fiona Bruce attended a briefing at Parliament on Wednesday night which highlighted nations where persecution is most severe.

Premier Christian Radio

Thu, 18 Jan 2018

Bid to scrap Scottish law policing behaviour at football takes step forward

MSPs have backed efforts to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act. The legislation has been criticised as infringing upon free speech on religious issues while failing to make any difference tackling sectarianism.

The Herald

Hackney committee votes to prioritise dealing with illegal schools

In a meeting of Hackney Council's children and young people's scrutiny commission last night, members voted to lobby government to strengthen legislation so children in unregistered schools are safe. The move came despite criticism from some Jewish groups.

Hackney Gazette

Archbishop's claims against bishop 'irresponsible and dangerous'

The Archbishop of Canterbury has shamed his office with "irresponsible and dangerous" claims that Bishop George Bell of Chichester may have been a paedophile, leading historians have said.

The Telegraph

Catholic divorce shake-up makes remarriage easier

Divorced Catholics will find it quicker and easier to remarry in church in England and Wales after an overhaul of the process that can declare a first marriage void in the eyes of God.

The Times (£)

Pakistani humanist denied UK asylum after failing to identify Plato

A Pakistani man who renounced his Muslim faith and became a humanist has had his application for asylum in the UK rejected. The Home Office said his knowledge of humanism was "rudimentary at best" and rejected his claim he would face persecution for his beliefs in Pakistan.

The Guardian

Second lawsuit lodged against Belgium’s ban on non-stunned meat

Lawyers have lodged a second lawsuit against an incoming ban on non-stunned meat in the Flanders area of Belgium. Several Jewish groups claim the law "tramples on" religious freedom.

Jewish News

New US Government agency to allow health workers to opt out from providing services on religious grounds

The Trump administration will create a new conscience and religious freedom division within the Health and Human Services Department to ease the way for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to opt out of providing services that violate their moral or religious beliefs.

The Washington Post

‘Why a gay couple took their cake case to the US Supreme Court’

A ruling over a cakeshop owner's refusal to serve a same-sex couple could erode civil rights protections for LGBT Americans or bolster them. Lucia Graves speaks to Charlie Craig and David Mullins.

The Guardian

Trump says no American should have to choose between faith and the law

On 'Religious Freedom Day' on Tuesday, President Trump said no American should have to choose between faith and the law. The statement appears to be part of a campaign to keep evangelical support.

Christian Today

US atheists urge defence secretary to end religious favouritism in the military

Two atheist groups in the US have sent a letter to James Mattis calling for an end to "coerced prayers" in the military.


Irish parliamentary debate focuses on women who’ve travelled for abortions

The experiences of thousands of Irish women who travel to the UK every year for an abortion have been recounted during a key debate on a proposed referendum on the issue.

The Belfast Telegraph

China bans children in predominantly Muslim county from attending religious events during winter holidays

A predominantly Muslim county in western China has banned children from attending religious events during the winter holidays, as authorities step up control of religious education.

The Independent

Wed, 17 Jan 2018

Education secretary urged to act over report on abuse at his former school

Survivors of abuse committed at a Catholic school attended by the education secretary, Damian Hinds, are asking him to press for the publication of an independent review. They say the review's findings have been hushed up.

The Guardian

Dispute over faith schools in Conservative party

A Conservative MP who is also the president of the Catholic Union of Great Britain is pressing the education secretary to scrap a cap on faith-based admissions to faith schools. Others say the Government should be "slow and careful".

Christian Today

Council in west London paves way to ban anti-abortion protesters from outside clinics

Ealing Council's cabinet had voted to ban anti-abortion protesters from outside a Marie Stopes clinic. The campaigners have been accused of "harassing" and "intimidating" women outside the clinic.


Bishop of Chichester joins House of Lords

The Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, has become a member of the House of Lords.

Brighton & Hove News

Victims say pope’s apology on child abuse rings hollow

On a trip to Chile, Pope Francis has said he is "pained and ashamed" over the "irreparable damage" priests inflicted on minors. But victims of clerical sexual abuse in Chile said the pope's words rang hollow.

The New York Times

‘There is a tsunami of atheism in the “Muslim world”’

Maryam Namazie, the founder of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, speaks about subjects including 'apostasy', atheism and the protests in Iran.

The Freethinker

‘Practising your religion is not a license to discriminate against others’

Jon O'Brien and Larry Decker say the true meaning of religious liberty is getting lost in current debates in the US.

The Hill

Couple who 'kept starving children chained to beds' were devout Christians

A couple accused of locking up and starving their children had 13 of them because they thought it was "God's calling", according to the siblings' grandparents. They also said the children were given "very strict home-schooling" and they would learn long passages of the Bible, with some striving to memorise it entirely.

Daily Mirror

‘A phony panic over anti-Muslim bigotry is ruining Canadian politics’

Police have said a widely-reported incident in which an 11-year-old girl alleged her hijab had been cut with scissors did not happen. J.J. McCullough says "there is something unmistakably perverse about the bizarre appetite many Canadians, particularly those on the left or in elite positions, seem to have" for tales of outlandish anti-Muslim bigotry.

The Washington Post

Tue, 16 Jan 2018

Senior Tory MPs warn May to be “slow and careful” over faith school changes

Senior Tory MPs have warned Theresa May to be "slow and careful" before allowing faith schools to take fewer pupils from outside their own religious background.

Evening Standard

Head of unregistered Islamic school banned from teaching over safeguarding concerns

The head of an unregistered Islamic school in Birmingham has been banned from teaching after inspectors repeatedly raised safeguarding issues at his school over a number of years.

Schools Week

Top primary school asks for DfE help enforcing standards on hijabs and fasting

The chair of governors at one of the best-rated primary schools in England has called on the Government to publish guidance on the hijab and fasting in schools. St Stephen's in east London has banned girls under eight from wearing the hijab and encourages children not to fast during school time.

Evening Standard

Disgraced priest who sexually abused Smyllum Park boys to give evidence at Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry

Sex offender Bernard Traynor has been called to give his testimony after allegations about him were made to the inquiry by former residents at the Smyllum Park orphanage.

The Scottish Sun

MPs' 'grave concern' about returning Rohingya people

The Commons International Development Committee has raised "grave concern" about the plight of thousands of Rohingya people being returned to Myanmar.


Baghdad suicide attacks leave 38 dead

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a busy street market in central Baghdad on Monday in back-to-back explosions that killed at least 38 people, Iraqi health and police officials said.

The Independent

Irish Government set to accept abortion committee’s recommendations

Leo Varadkar has signalled for the first time that the Irish Government will accept the recommendations of a parliamentary committee on the Eighth Amendment. This means legislation will be prepared to allow for abortion on request up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy.

The Irish Times

Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram paraded in new video

The militant Islamist group Boko Haram released a video on Monday which purported to show some of the girls kidnapped from the Nigerian town of Chibok nearly four years ago, saying they do not wish to return home.

The Telegraph

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