Wed, 11 Apr 2018

DfE drops plan to regulate all out-of-school education

The Department for Education has announced that it has abandoned plans to regulate all out-of-school education, including Sunday schools and other religious settings, following a backlash from faith groups.


Council imposes abortion clinic safe zone in west London

A buffer zone will be created at a west London abortion clinic to protect patients from harassment and intimidation.


DfE considering compulsory register of home-educated children

The government is seeking views on introducing a compulsory register of children who are being educated at home, and punishing parents who refuse to comply.


‘Sects & violence’

A government quango set up to combat hatred against Muslims is proving oddly muted when it comes to intra-Muslim violence.

Private Eye

Rejection by C of E has driven LGBT people to suicide, bishop says

A senior Church of England bishop has said some LGBT people have been driven to harm or even to kill themselves as a result of "pain and rejection" caused by the church.

The Guardian

‘Cutting edge’ anti-terror barriers to be erected in Edinburgh

New pop-up anti-terror barriers which will sound an alert in the event of a major incident are set to be deployed around Edinburgh city centre in future during major festivals and events.

Edinburgh News

Criticism of Macron’s overtures to Catholic Church

French president Emmanuel Macron has called for stronger ties between the state and the Catholic Church. His words have prompted critics to say he has blurred a line that has kept French government free of religious intervention for generations.

VoA News

German state’s proposed ban on headscarves for girls under 14 sparks national debate

A regional government in Germany has provoked national debate after it announced it was considering a ban on girls under the age of 14 wearing Islamic headscarves. Divisions have emerged in Angela Merkel's government over the issue.

The Telegraph

Will Saudi crown prince reform Wahhabism in Europe?

Saudi Arabia's crown prince says he wants to curb the power of hardline clerics and prominent sheikhs. But analysts warn that moderating the exportation of Wahhabism could be difficult.

Mail Online

Tue, 10 Apr 2018

Bishop and senior clergyman join calls for C of E to lose equalities exemptions

The Church of England should lose its protections under the Equalities Act that allow it to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexuality, a bishop and senior clergyman have said.

Christian Today

Just one in five oppose equal marriage in Northern Ireland

A poll has found that fewer than one in five people in Northern Ireland are opposed to equal marriage – despite a political stalemate that has left gay people without marriage rights for years.

Pink News

Belfast council passes motion against prosecutions for taking abortion pills

Belfast City Council has passed a motion condemning the arrest and attempted prosecution of women in Northern Ireland who procure abortion pills online.

The Guardian

First ban on harassing women at abortion clinics could happen today

Anti-abortion protesters could be prevented from harassing women near abortion clinics in Ealing after a council vote today.


Boris Johnson criticised for congratulating Hungary's Viktor Orban

The foreign secretary has been criticised for congratulating Viktor Orban on his re-election as Hungary's prime minister. Critics have said Mr Orban's campaign encouraged anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim bigotry.

Sky News

Deceased organ donor numbers reach record high

A record number of people in the UK have donated their organs after they died, according to NHS Blood and Transplant.


Former choirmaster jailed for sexual abuse of boys

A former choirmaster has been jailed for sexually abusing two boys who he met at a church in Gloucestershire in the 1980s and 1990s.


The popular high street chains serving halal meat in the UK

The global halal food market is expected to be worth over £520bn by 2025, according to recent research. This guide outlines the policies of high street chains such as Nando's and Subway on halal food.


Iraqi courts seeking out atheists for prosecution

Arrest warrants have been issued for four Iraqis on atheism charges, according to Dhi Qar province's Garraf district judiciary.


Legal battle over abortion restrictions in Mississippi

Mississippi's last remaining abortion provider is challenging laws that ban abortions in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy and block access to the procedure in myriad ways.


Application to India’s Supreme Court objects to winking scene in film

An application has been filed in India's Supreme Court objecting to winking in a film, saying the act of winking is forbidden in Islam.

Hindustan Times

Mon, 09 Apr 2018

Mother sues doctor and calls for legal change over forced genital cutting

A mother whose baby son was in so much pain after he was circumcised that he could not wear a nappy is taking legal action against the doctor who carried out the surgery without her consent. She also said the law should give boys the same protection as girls get from female genital mutilation.

The Times (£)

‘Irreversible procedures such as circumcision should not be imposed on children’

Maajid Nawaz responds to the row over the mother whose son was circumcised without her consent. He says "one of the cornerstones of medical ethics is that there should be no intrusive surgical procedure unless there is a proven need".


Northern Ireland still polarised by religion two decades after the Good Friday Agreement

A poll for Sky News found that 51% of people in Northern Ireland have few or no friends of a different religion. Among 18-34 year-olds, that figure was 58% - as high as any other age group.

Sky News

Two new single-sex Muslim faith schools earmarked for Manchester, despite political opposition

Two new single-sex Muslim faith schools have been earmarked for land in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester, despite concerns among council chiefs and MPs.

Manchester Evening News

Senior figure in Catholic Church arrested over child abuse images

A senior figure in the Catholic Church has been arrested in the Vatican for possession of images showing child abuse.

Sunday Herald

Catholic Church revives exorcisms to meet rising demand, despite abuse claims

In Britain, government figures suggest that almost 1,500 child abuse cases a year are linked to notions of witchcraft and demonic possession. There are also concerns that exorcisms may replace psychiatric treatment for people with mental health issues.


Humanist chaplain appointed in Buckinghamshire NHS trust

A humanist has been appointed as the first atheist head chaplain in the NHS.

The Times (£)

Humour and hot water: should Islam be a target of satire? – NSS mentioned

Thomas Clements interviews Waleed Wain, the comedian behind the character Veedu Vidz. Wain has faced bans from Facebook after mocking Salafi preachers. The NSS recently criticised Facebook over its bans.

Conatus News

Censorship on Edinburgh Uni campus drives creation of new website

A growing "crisis" over campus censorship at Edinburgh University is driving the success of a new free speech ­platform where nothing is off-limits, according to the two students who founded it.

The Scotsman

Labour has antisemitism problem, 51% of voters say

Half of the electorate believes that there are at least pockets of antisemitism in the Labour party, according to a poll.

The Observer

First mosque in the Outer Hebrides to open this summer despite Presbyterian opposition

The first mosque in the Outer Hebrides is set to open this summer despite opposition from the local arm of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing).

The Telegraph

Berlin police arrest six over 'city-endangering' plot

Berlin police have arrested six people who they suspect of "preparing a grave city-endangering violent act". German media has reported that a knife attack was foiled against Sunday's half-marathon in the city. Die Welt reported that those arrested were suspected of having links to the December 2016 truck attacker.


Fri, 06 Apr 2018

Regular Sunday opening for Stornoway's arts centre ‘as soon possible’

A Hebridean arts centre will open on Sundays "as soon as possible" in the wake of a pilot opening of part of the complex on three Sundays between January and March.

The Scotsman

Austria's government aims to ban headscarves in school for girls under 10

Austria's government announced plans on Wednesday to ban girls from wearing headscarves in nurseries and primary schools.


'Religious instruction and worship should take place outside core school hours'

David Graham says it is effectively impossible to opt out of the religiously integrated curriculum in Ireland, and there is a growing appetite for change.

The Journal (Ireland)

‘On Chichester and safeguarding’

Martin Warner, the bishop of Chichester, claims his diocese is changing its approach to safeguarding in response to recent revelations from the IICSA inquiry.

Church Times

‘Annie Besant and her dauntless legacy of resistance’ – NSS mentioned

A profile of Annie Besant – a noted philosopher, social reformer and women's rights activist who played an important role in the early history of the NSS.

Feminism in India

No council probe of "Muslim parasite” social media post

A councillor will not face an investigation by Calderdale Council for sharing an article on social media that called Muslims "parasites" before he took up his position. The Conservative Party has suspended Mike Payne over the remarks.


US columnist loses job over calls to execute women who have abortions

The Atlantic magazine has sacked Kevin Williamson, who was hired last week, when editors learnt that he had previously called for women who have abortions to be hanged.

The Washington Post

‘Ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools in New York continue to fail and lawmakers are making it worse’

Terry Firma says lawmakers in New York are giving too much ground to Orthodox Jewish leaders who resist state oversight of religious schools.


Settlement will prevent NYPD surveillance of Muslims based on just religion or ethnicity

The New York Police Department has agreed not to conduct surveillance based on religion or ethnicity as it develops new training materials as part of a deal to settle claims it illegally spied on Muslims.

Boston Globe

New Jersey could soon outlaw marriage for anyone under 18

New Jersey could become the first state in the US to outlaw marriage for anyone under the age of 18. A bill to ban child brides was stopped in its tracks last year when Chris Christie, then the governor of the state, vetoed it. He said it was too restrictive and could infringe on religious and cultural traditions.

Thu, 05 Apr 2018

Charity Commission takes over abbey’s safeguarding responsibilities

Ampleforth Abbey has been stripped of responsibility for pupil welfare by the Charity Commission amid concerns about its management of sex abuse allegations. The abbey runs a 200-year-old religious community on the same site as Ampleforth College in Yorkshire.

The Telegraph

Corbyn and Jewish leaders will meet to discuss Labour anti-Semitism

Jeremy Corbyn and Britain's two largest Jewish organisations have agreed to address antisemitism in the Labour party.

The Guardian

UK diplomats among those criticising Iceland’s proposed ban on child circumcision

Icelandic consulates in numerous countries have received concerted criticism regarding the country's proposed ban on child circumcision. Britain, Germany and the US have reportedly been particularly critical.

The Reykjavik Grapevine

Chaplains for Commonwealth Games athletes

Two chaplains from the UK based Christians in Sport Group will be among the staff working with athletes taking part in the Commonwealth Games over the next two weeks.

Christian Today

‘Many left-wing progressives are silent about Islam’s totalitarian tendencies – and the victims are overwhelmingly women’

Julie Bindel says secularist feminists are furious with those who "are more afraid of being labelled 'Islamophobic' than of giving more power to conservative Muslim men who seek to impose Islamic law on women and girls".

UnHerd (requires free sign up)

Keith O’Brien funeral held in Newcastle

The funeral of Cardinal Keith O'Brien, formerly the Catholic Church's most senior cleric in Britain, is being held in Newcastle. O'Brien resigned as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh in 2013 after admitting sexual misconduct. He died in hospital last month.

Belfast Telegraph

Crowdfunders bid to build mosque on Isle of Lewis

A crowdfunding page has been set up in a bid to raise £50,000 toward creating a mosque on the Isle of Lewis. The Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) Presbytery of the Outer Hebrides has criticised plans to build a mosque on the island.

The Herald

Bill would end religious ethos opt out for sex ed in Ireland

A bill to prevent schools from using their religious ethos to avoid providing objective and factual sex education is to be debated in the lower house of the Irish legislature.

Irish Examiner

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