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Thu, 18 Mar 2021

‘Covid-19 vaccines and the danger of religious misinformation’

‘Covid-19 vaccines and the danger of religious misinformation’

Many religious leaders are working hard to spread the news that vaccines are safe and effective. But there are figures in almost every faith who are undermining that message, with some spreading misinformation which could lead to vaccine hesitancy.

BBC

‘Indonesian girls traumatized by push to wear hijab’

‘Indonesian girls traumatized by push to wear hijab’

Women and girls across the country can face "intense and constant" pressure to wear the hijab, said Human Rights Watch Indonesia researcher Andreas Harsono.

Reuters

‘Deported to Pakistan: Does death await Ahmadis?’

‘Deported to Pakistan: Does death await Ahmadis?’

Many Ahmadi Muslims are threatened with deportation from Germany. But other countries have recognized the need for the protection of a minority often persecuted in Pakistan.

Deutsche Welle

Wed, 17 Mar 2021

Evangelical Christians urge Boris Johnson not to ban conversion therapy

Evangelical Christians urge Boris Johnson not to ban conversion therapy

The Evangelical Alliance, which represents 3,500 evangelical churches in the UK, has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him not to ban so-called conversion therapy.

ITV

Jehovah’s Witness congregation blamed for rape

Jehovah’s Witness congregation blamed for rape

A Jehovah's Witness congregation was responsible for the rape of a young woman because of the power male "elders" wielded over "sheep-like" members, the Court of Appeal ruled.

The Times*

Scotland enshrines children’s rights in Scots law

Scotland enshrines children’s rights in Scots law

The Scottish Government has incorporated the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law.

The Edinburgh Reporter

Frustration over ban on discussing Catholic school’s sex lessons

Frustration over ban on discussing Catholic school’s sex lessons

Councillors who were told they could not challenge a school's controversial relationships and sex education policy have spoken out about their concerns.

Hereford Times

School drops legal action after girl from Muslim family told her skirt was too long

School drops legal action after girl from Muslim family told her skirt was too long

A school that had threatened the Muslim parents of a schoolgirl with legal action after she wore a skirt that was deemed "too long" has dropped its legal challenge and apologised.

The Guardian

NI: Bill against abortions in cases of non-fatal disabilities passes second stage

NI: Bill against abortions in cases of non-fatal disabilities passes second stage

A Bill aimed at outlawing abortions being carried out in cases of non-fatal disabilities has passed its second stage in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Central Fife Times

MPs criticise companies over China forced labour

MPs criticise companies over China forced labour

Some British firms could be complicit in the use of forced labour of Uighur Muslims in China's Xinjiang region, an MPs' report says.

BBC

Japan court finds same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

Japan court finds same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

A district court in Japan has in a landmark decision ruled that the country's failure to recognise same-sex marriage is "unconstitutional".

BBC

US: ‘Supreme Court's COVID-19 cases stir up battle between religion, same-sex couples over foster care’

US: ‘Supreme Court's COVID-19 cases stir up battle between religion, same-sex couples over foster care’

As religious freedom emerges as a major theme at the Supreme Court this year, some court watchers are predicting a series of recent opinions involving COVID-19 restrictions have put that issue on a collision course with gay rights.

USA Today

‘Across Africa, hijab in schools divides Christians and Muslims’

‘Across Africa, hijab in schools divides Christians and Muslims’

The religious garments have triggered bitter fights between Christians and Muslims. One such fight is unfolding in the western Nigerian state of Kwara, forcing a temporary closure of at least 10 Christian schools.

Religion News Service

Tue, 16 Mar 2021

Vatican bars gay union blessing, says God ‘can’t bless sin’

Vatican bars gay union blessing, says God ‘can’t bless sin’

The Vatican's orthodoxy office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a formal response to a question about whether Catholic clergy have the authority to bless gay unions. The answer, contained in a two-page explanation published in seven languages and approved by Pope Francis, was "negative."

AP News

Judge rules on Orthodox Jewish brothers Bolton care homes claim

Judge rules on Orthodox Jewish brothers Bolton care homes claim

In a legal challenge the uncle of the boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had insisted the Bolton home was not able to meet the strict Orthodox conditions of their upbringing, including access to kosher food and Sabbath observance.

This is Lancashire

Campaigner’s delight as first Catholic primary school wins integrated status

Campaigner’s delight as first Catholic primary school wins integrated status

A move by the Education Minister to grant integrated status to a Catholic primary school for the first time could open the way for similar decisions in the future, campaigners hope.

Belfast Telegraph

The SNP’s radical assault on freedom of speech

The SNP’s radical assault on freedom of speech

"Scots will now enjoy measurably less expressive liberty than the rest of the country, whether through commonplace prosecution or because the law's mere existence produces a chilling effect."

The Spectator

Mozambique insurgency: Militants beheading children, aid agency reports

Mozambique insurgency: Militants beheading children, aid agency reports

Aid agency Save the Children says Islamist militants are beheading children as young as 11 in Mozambique's northern province of Cabo Delgado.

BBC

Sex abuse allegations pile up against Israeli rescue chief

Sex abuse allegations pile up against Israeli rescue chief

The scandal has all but destroyed the reputation of a man who just weeks ago received the Israel Prize, the country's highest civilian honor, for his lifetime achievements. It also has shined a light on the scourge of sexual abuse in the insular world of Israel's ultra-Orthodox community.

Daily Mail

Supreme Court will ‘clearly’ put ‘religious freedom’ above LGBT+ rights and overturn key ruling, law professor warns

Supreme Court will ‘clearly’ put ‘religious freedom’ above LGBT+ rights and overturn key ruling, law professor warns

Douglas Laycock, a professor of law at the University of Virginia and leading expert on religious liberty, warned that the current makeup of the Supreme Court means it's unlikely that upcoming cases will side in favour of LGBT+ rights.

Pink News

Mon, 15 Mar 2021

Sex education in NI schools is insufficient, says expert panel

Sex education in NI schools is insufficient, says expert panel

Relationships and sex education in schools in Northern Ireland is "inconsistent and insufficient", according to an expert advisory panel on a gender equality strategy.

BBC

Catholic school sex education lessons cannot be challenged, councillors told

Catholic school sex education lessons cannot be challenged, councillors told

Herefordshire councillors have been told they have no power to intervene or challenge a school's relationships and sex education policy.

Ledbury Reporter

Government to bring forward ban on conversion therapy

Government to bring forward ban on conversion therapy

Speaking to reporters on a trip to Scotland, equalities minister Liz Truss said: "We'll shortly be bringing forward plans to ban conversion therapy, which is an abhorrent practice."

ITV

Scottish Tories vow to repeal controversial Hate Crime Bill in manifesto

Scottish Tories vow to repeal controversial Hate Crime Bill in manifesto

The Scottish Conservatives have unveiled a manifesto pledge for May's Holyrood election to repeal the Hate Crime Bill.

The National

Refusing to give Jewish divorce document to be recognised as domestic abuse, government confirms

Refusing to give Jewish divorce document to be recognised as domestic abuse, government confirms

Although the Domestic Abuse Bill - which is expected to be passed next month - does not specifically refer to the denial of a get (Jewish divorce document), it is to be included in follow-up statutory guidance.

The Jewish Chronicle

Labour to create new codes of conduct and training on ‘Islamophobia’

Labour to create new codes of conduct and training on ‘Islamophobia’

The codes of conduct will reportedly be developed in consultation with organisations like the Runnymede Trust.

Politics Home

Sinn Féin to press Stormont ministers to commission NI abortion services

Sinn Féin to press Stormont ministers to commission NI abortion services

Party president Mary Lou McDonald accused the DUP and Ulster Unionists of blocking the change – two years after legislation was passed at Westminster.

The Irish Times

Iran arrests producers in pop music video crackdown

Iran arrests producers in pop music video crackdown

Iranian authorities have arrested multiple music producers connected to a California-based Iranian pop singer in Tehran's latest effort to halt what it deems 'decadent Western behaviour'.

Hereford Times

Sri Lanka to ban burqa and close 1,000 Islamic schools

Sri Lanka to ban burqa and close 1,000 Islamic schools

Sri Lanka has announced plans to ban the wearing of burqas and said it would close more than 1,000 Islamic schools known as madrassas, citing national security.

The Guardian

Australian Christian satire website is ‘charity’, commission rules

Australian Christian satire website is ‘charity’, commission rules

A Christian satire website has been given charity status by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission following a months-long legal battle over the whether the work of the charity could be considered to be 'advancing the Christian faith'.

Eternity

US: ‘Anti-abortion bills abound; their fate in court is unknown’

US: ‘Anti-abortion bills abound; their fate in court is unknown’

At an intense pace, lawmakers in Republican-governed states are considering an array of tough anti-abortion restrictions they hope might reach the Supreme Court and win approval from its conservative majority.

ABC News

‘India's interfaith couples on edge after new law’

‘India's interfaith couples on edge after new law’

A controversial new anti-conversion law that criminalises interfaith love has put Hindu-Muslim couples on edge. Now, they face the wrath of not just their families, but also the Indian state.

BBC

Fri, 12 Mar 2021

MSPs vote through controversial hate crime legislation

MSPs vote through controversial hate crime legislation

Controversial hate crime legislation has passed its final hurdle in Holyrood despite concerns over freedom of speech.

The Herald*

Labour promises ban on conversion therapy as government's LGBT+ record attacked

Labour promises ban on conversion therapy as government's LGBT+ record attacked

Abhorrent" so-called conversion therapy will be banned under a Labour government, leader Sir Keir Starmer has said, adding his party is "100% against it".

ITV

Sturgeon’s link to anti-gay Iran cleric

Sturgeon’s link to anti-gay Iran cleric

Nicola Sturgeon gave a speech alongside an Iranian cleric who compared gay marriage to bestiality.

The Jewish Chronicle

‘Catholic school plan divides community’ – NSS quoted

‘Catholic school plan divides community’ – NSS quoted

The St John Henry Newman Catholic Primary School will be the first Catholic school in England to open in almost ten years.

The Tablet*

Violent and ‘sexualised’ Bible cartoon used in primary school RE lessons removed after parent complaints

Violent and ‘sexualised’ Bible cartoon used in primary school RE lessons removed after parent complaints

The animated video – a modern reworking of the parable of the Good Samaritan – depicts a strip club and shows a young girl being hit in the head by a bottle and punched in the face

iNews

EU declared 'LGBT freedom zone' in response to Poland's 'LGBT-free zones'

EU declared 'LGBT freedom zone' in response to Poland's 'LGBT-free zones'

The European Parliament has declared that the whole of the European Union is an "LGBTIQ Freedom Zone".

BBC

‘The school system where kids get extra credit for anti-abortion artwork’

‘The school system where kids get extra credit for anti-abortion artwork’

Schoolchildren in Poland are being awarded extra credit for creating anti-abortion artwork and stories, in what pro-choice activists say is a chilling indication of how extreme the debate over abortion in the staunchly Catholic country has become.

Vice

Another Texas lawmaker is attempting to make abortion punishable by death

Another Texas lawmaker is attempting to make abortion punishable by death

A Texas lawmaker has filed a bill that would abolish and criminalize abortions, leaving women and physicians who perform the procedure to face criminal charges that could carry the death penalty.

The Texas Tribune

Australia: Two women face court over alleged planned female genital mutilation of baby

Australia: Two women face court over alleged planned female genital mutilation of baby

Two women have faced court over allegedly planning the female genital mutilation of a two-week-old baby.

ABC News

Indian theatre festival forced to close after Hindu vigilantes object to satirical plays

Indian theatre festival forced to close after Hindu vigilantes object to satirical plays

Rightwing Hindu vigilante groups in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have forced the cancellation of an annual theatre festival, after threatening violence over satirical plays they accused of being "anti-national".

The Guardian

India: Teaching of Hinduism books in Islamic madrasas sparks anger

India: Teaching of Hinduism books in Islamic madrasas sparks anger

Muslim clerics have slammed mandatory teaching of Hindu epics in autonomous seminaries and educational institutions as a move to "Hinduize" India. Murali Krishnan reports.

Deutsche Welle

Thu, 11 Mar 2021

EasyJet pays compensation to woman asked to move by ultra-Orthodox Jewish men

EasyJet pays compensation to woman asked to move by ultra-Orthodox Jewish men

EasyJet has paid compensation to a British-Israeli woman who was asked to change seats on a flight from Tel Aviv after ultra-Orthodox Jewish men objected to sitting next to her.

The Guardian

Controversial Hate Crime Bill vote delayed after fiery Holyrood debate

Controversial Hate Crime Bill vote delayed after fiery Holyrood debate

A furious debate over proposed hate crime legislation had MSPs at loggerheads for more than four hours over freedom of speech provisions and whether sex should be added to ensure women were protected under the law.

The Scotsman*

28 faith leaders head for court over Scottish government decision to close churches

28 faith leaders head for court over Scottish government decision to close churches

A judicial review on the Scottish Government's coronavirus evidence that closed places of worship across Scotland will be heard after 28 faith leaders, from a variety of churches, united to take their case to court.

The Scotsman*

'Conversion therapy': LGBT+ groups' 'deep concern' over minister's approach

'Conversion therapy': LGBT+ groups' 'deep concern' over minister's approach

Nearly 20 LGBT+ organisations and campaigners have written to the equalities minister to express their "deep concern" at her response to calls to ban so-called conversion therapy.

BBC

Report: Fast growth of Charedi population risks ‘polarisation’ with secular Jews

Report: Fast growth of Charedi population risks ‘polarisation’ with secular Jews

Rapid growth in Britain's Charedi population could create tensions with other Jewish groups, a think-tank has warned in a study of how communal life has been affected by the pandemic.

Jewish News

Pagans lose High Court challenge over access to Stonehenge

Pagans lose High Court challenge over access to Stonehenge

Three pagans have lost a High Court challenge to convictions for entering the stone circle at Stonehenge to sing, chant, and charge their crystals as part of their religious beliefs.

Evening Standard

UK twinned towns urged to lobby Polish counterparts against ‘LGBT-free zones’

UK twinned towns urged to lobby Polish counterparts against ‘LGBT-free zones’

UK councils are being urged to lobby their Polish counterparts to stop the spread of "LGBT-free zones" which have sprung up across the country, as part of a new campaign led by the Liberal Democrats.

The Independent

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