Tue, 27 Mar 2018

NSS defends equal treatment coroner over religious burial policy

A senior coroner in North London is facing a landmark legal challenge over her decision not to prioritise work for religious reasons. The NSS has written to the chief coroner and a justice minister to urge that the independence of the judiciary be upheld in the case.

The Times Brief (£)

Sorry not enough, archbishops’ letter says after IICSA, and a survivor agrees

The Church of England "must not simply say sorry" to survivors of clerical sex abuse, but "demonstrate clearly" that lessons have been learnt from the past, the archbishops of Canterbury and York have said.

Church Times

Chichester child abuse: How did one small Church of England diocese produce so many paedophile reverends?

Andreas Whittam-Smith takes a detailed look at child abuse and cover-ups in the Chichester diocese. He says the IICSA inquiry has shown the abuse was "normalised" and one member of the clergy engaged in abuse because he thought God had forgiven him for previous behaviour.

The Independent

'Intolerance' threat to university free speech

Free speech in university is under threat from "intolerant attitudes", says a report from MPs and peers.


Jeremy Corbyn told to act on 'stain' of anti-Semitism in Labour

Prominent Labour figures have called on Jeremy Corbyn to do more to "root out" anti-Semitism from within the party.


'The left must unite against cynical smears aimed at undermining Labour'

The Morning Star claims that accusations of anti-Semitism in Labour are "preposterous posturing" and a "cynical ploy aimed at undermining Labour's performance".

Morning Star

MSPs to address ‘punish a Muslim’ campaign

Politicians in Scotland say they will consider further action to tackle an "abhorrent" anti-Muslim campaign.

The Herald

Tory MP Bob Blackman attacked for anti-Muslim Facebook post

A Conservative MP has been accused of giving a platform to bigots by sharing a story from an anti-Muslim website on his Facebook page.

The Times (£)

Globalisation has contributed to declining levels of religious freedom across the world

As Pazit Ben-Nun Bloom and Gizem Arikan write, there is evidence that restrictions on religious freedom have increased globally in recent decades. Using data from a recent study, they highlight the role that processes of globalisation have had on this trend.

LSE Blog

Mass to be said in Edinburgh for Cardinal Keith O'Brien

A mass for the late Cardinal Keith O'Brien is to be held in Edinburgh's St Mary's Cathedral one month after his funeral, it has emerged.

The Herald

‘Fix the date of the Easter bank holiday’

Letter writers consider the implications of enforcing the Easter Act, which would mean a bank holiday would always fall between 9 April and 15 April. (Scroll down to read.)

The Times (£)

Bishop, priests in Brazil 'caught hiding cash in massive church embezzlement scandal'

A group of Catholic clergymen including a bishop have been arrested in Brazil, accused of embezzling £426,000 of church donations, funeral fees and fundraising cash found hidden behind a false wall. The Bishop of Formosa, Jose Ribeiro, alongside five priests and three lay people were detained in prison in Goiás charged with stealing over 2 million reais (£426,000) from church funds.

Christian Today

Is Sikh extremism really active in Canada?

Both the Liberals and New Democrats have recently been forced to deal with an issue that usually isn't part of the political agenda in Canada – Sikh extremism.

The Conversation

Suspected Quebec City mosque shooter pleads not guilty

A Canadian man accused of killing six Muslim worshippers at a mosque in Quebec City in 2017 has pleaded not guilty to all charges.


The ‘gay wedding cake’ dilemma: when religious freedom and LGBTI rights intersect

Last year, 61.6% of Australians voted in favour of marriage equality, leading to the passage of legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry.

The Conversation

Film fans to be met with protesters on the Isle of Lewis as cinema shows final Sunday movie

Film fans will be greeted by more protesters on the Isle of Lewis as its final Sunday movie is screened tomorrow. There are only 12 of the 183 seats left for Black Panther Sunday screening which is set – like the other two Sabbath-busting films – to be a sell-out.

The Scottish Sun

Mon, 26 Mar 2018

NSS gives Secularist of the Year prize to campaigners who exposed sexual abuse

Graham Sawyer and Phil Johnson won the National Secular Society's Secularist of the Year award after campaigning to expose sexual abuse in the Church of England.

The Independent

Campaigners against clerical abuse named Secularist of the Year by NSS

NSS chief executive Stephen Evans praised Johnson and Sawyer for their "courageous efforts to break the silence that has allowed an epidemic of abuse to take place in the Church of England".

Christian Today

Church of England made “conscious effort to treat survivors badly”, inquiry hears

The Church of England's treatment of abuse victims is more "malign" than the Catholic Church because it "required a conscious effort to treat survivors badly", the IICSA inquiry heard on Friday.

Christian Today

Parsons Green judge gives theological opinions while jailing terrorist

The judge in the trial of the Parsons Green terrorist has said Ahmed Hassan "will have plenty of time to study the Koran in Prison". He also told him "the Koran is a book of peace", "Islam forbids breaking the law of the land" and "Islam forbids terror".

The Telegraph

MPs and Jewish groups to protest against anti-semitism in Labour

A letter from the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council has accused Jeremy Corbyn of being unable to "seriously contemplate anti-Semitism" because of his "far-left worldview". The groups are to hold a protest outside parliament tonight, and some Labour MPs are expected to join them.


Confected outrage over Easter egg packaging

Reports suggest that only one in ten chocolate eggs will use the word 'Easter' on the front of its packaging this year. But the figures don't appear to buck a trend or show a particular shift from manufacturers.

The Mirror

‘Racist slur’ by Muslim group against tolerance tsar Sara Khan

The new anti-extremism tsar was described as an "oreo" by a senior member of the Muslim advocacy group Mend, according to a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation. The investigation will be broadcast tonight.

The Times (£)

‘How “apartheid” came to schools in England’

Some areas have seen an alarming increase in racial segregation in schools this century. William Stewart looks at the origins of the problem, including criticism of government policies which have promoted faith schools.


Film fans face protests in Stornoway

Sabbatarian protesters met fans who visited a screening of Black Panther on the Isle of Lewis yesterday.

The Scottish Sun

‘Want to lower the abortion rate? Support pro-choice policies’

Jill Filipovic says the chief lesson of a new report is that making abortion illegal or hard to get doesn't end abortion – it just makes it less safe.

The Guardian

‘Giving offence is inevitable and often necessary in a plural society’

In the wake of the 'Nazi pug' case, Kenan Malik writes that those fighting injustice should be the last to demand censorship and the first to oppose it.

The Guardian

Protest against forced genital cutting in North Carolina

A group of men are traveling North Carolina with red stained crotches as part of a protest against infant circumcision. The group is called Bloodstained Men & Their Friends.

Mail Online

Fri, 23 Mar 2018

‘Fired for getting married’ hospital chaplain loses appeal against C of E – NSS quoted

A hospital chaplain who was effectively sacked after getting married has lost an appeal. In response NSS CEO Stephen Evans has criticised the Church of England's veto over the appointment of NHS hospital chaplains.

Pink News

Bill on legalising same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland to go before Commons

A bill aimed at legalising same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland is set to go before the House of Commons next week.

Belfast Telegraph

Charedi schools seek legal advice over equality guidelines

Charedi schools are taking legal advice over their response to draft government guidelines on independent schools. The guidelines require schools to tell pupils about same-sex relationships.

The JC

Events held to mark 2017 terror attacks

Events have been held to remember 14 people killed in four London terror attacks in 2017, on yesterday's first anniversary of the attack in Westminster.


Parsons Green tube bomber was not given mentor on Prevent scheme

Specialists in dealing with radicalisation did not meet the Parsons Green bomber in the months before the attack despite separate referrals by a teacher and an immigration worker.

The Times (£)

‘Abuse in the church: a truly dreadful story’

A Guardian editorial argues that the evidence that has emerged of the Church of England's attitude towards abusive clergy has gravely damaged its moral authority. It adds that "mandatory reporting to the civil authorities of any suspicion of child abuse is the very least of the measures that need be taken".

The Guardian

‘Cardinal O’Brien’s tale was a betrayal of hope and trust’

Rosemary Goring says that throughout Keith O'Brien's career he was "cocooned, chastised and cared for by the institution in which he had flourished".

The Herald

Parents complain over gay forum poster in Catholic school

A Catholic grammar school is facing a complaint after pupils were given promotional material advertising a gay youth forum aimed at 12-25 year olds.


‘On retirement, I could openly admit I didn’t believe in God for the first time’

Peter Gunning writes that being an atheist principal and managing a Catholic school was a difficult balance to maintain in Ireland.

The Journal (Ireland)

As Poland mulls new abortion bill, women head to Germany

Poland has some of the most restrictive laws in Europe when it comes to abortion. Now, the government is pushing through a new bill targeting abortions where the foetus is damaged. Some women are responding by heading to Germany for the procedure.


In Indonesia, a shadowy campaign to stoke unrest as elections loom

Intelligence officials believe political forces are behind what they describe as a shadowy "black campaign" in Indonesia. The campaign, they say, is designed to whip up fear that Islam itself is under siege under the leadership of President Joko Widodo.


Boko Haram’s last remaining girl captive ‘refusing to convert to Islam’

A Nigerian schoolgirl remains in Boko Haram's captivity after she refused to convert to Islam, her mother has said. Her 104 classmates were released.

The Independent (Ireland)

Thu, 22 Mar 2018

Archbishop of Canterbury “ashamed” of Church over abuse

The archbishop of Canterbury has said how "ashamed" he is of the Church of England in evidence to the IICSA child sex abuse inquiry.


IICSA: the dean’s bonfire and the destroyed report at Chichester Cathedral

Witnesses to the IICSA inquiry have given evidence on the mishandling of safeguarding in Chichester Cathedral.

Church Times

Damian Hinds comments on home schooling and illegal schools

The education secretary appeared before the parliamentary education committee yesterday. He did not rule out including home schooled children in a review of exclusions practices and said councils have "more power than is sometimes supposed" over illegal schools.

Schools Week

Community leaders tell justice minister that equal treatment coroner “must be made accountable”

Jewish 'community representatives' have told justice minister Phillip Lee that a senior London coroner who does not prioritise treating bodies for religious reasons "must be made accountable for her actions".

Jewish News

Top judge slams Catholic Church for being "in denial” over sexual abuse

A top judge has slammed the Catholic Church for being in "denial" over sexual abuse problems within the priesthood.

Liverpool Echo

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh’s charity to be wound up

A charity launched by senior SNP activist Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh with £16,000 worth of taxpayer support is being wound up amid a misconduct probe. The Scottish Asian Women's Association's stated aim was to "promote religious and racial harmony".

The Herald

Pope will not visit Northern Ireland this year

The pope has announced that he will make the first papal trip to Ireland in nearly 40 years in August. There had been speculation that he would also visit Northern Ireland, but he said his visit would be limited to Dublin.


'It’s time to end education’s historic deference to religion'

Andrew Copson writes that the support of successive governments for faith schools has encouraged religious groups to believe they have total control over children's education.


Boko Haram demands returned schoolgirls give up education

Boko Haram has released more than 100 of the schoolgirls it abducted last month, returning them to their village in north-east Nigeria. It has told the girls they will abduct them again permanently if they do not give up going to school.

The Guardian

Austin bomber was ‘introverted Christian conservative’ but officials unsure of his motive

A serial bomber has blown himself up as authorities closed in on him in Texas. A portrait has emerged of him as an "introverted Christian conservative" who wrote about his opposition to gay marriage and abortion. But officials say they still don't know how or why he chose his targets.

Los Angeles Times

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