Wed, 21 Mar 2018

'Christianity as default is gone': the rise of a non-Christian Europe

Europe's march towards a post-Christian society has been starkly illustrated by research showing a majority of young people in a dozen countries, including the UK, do not follow a religion.

The Guardian

Clergy burnt church files after being accused of covering up abuse, inquiry hears

A senior clergyman burnt church files, an inquiry heard yesterday, after he failed to report the systematic abuse of children by a priest to the police.

Christian Today

YouTuber who taught dog Nazi salute faces jail for hate crime

A man is facing jail after he was convicted of a hate crime for uploading a video of him teaching his girlfriend's dog to give a Nazi salute and respond excitedly to the phrase "gas the Jews".


Muslims see national and religious identities as important, says study

Muslims in the UK attach more importance to being British than the general population, according to a report from Ipsos Mori. The report also found that 94% of Muslims considered their religious identity extremely or very important.

The Guardian

Abortion rates go down when countries make it legal: report

Abortion rates have fallen over the past 25 years, even as more countries have made the procedure legal and easier to get, according to a new report released Tuesday. The study also found that countries with the most restrictive abortion laws have the highest rates of abortion.

NBC News

Scottish Rugby to probe sectarian incident in Rome

Scottish Rugby has launched an investigation after supporters were filmed using sectarian language during the recent trip to Rome.

The Scotsman

Outdated blasphemy law set to be repealed in New Zealand

New Zealand's justice minister has introduced legislation to repeal the decades-old law prohibiting blasphemy.

Radio NZ

Dutch animal welfare party proposes ban on non-stun slaughter

The Dutch animal welfare party has submitted draft legislation proposing to ban all slaughter of animals without stunning.

The Times of Israel

‘I stayed silent on child abuse. And I blame religion for that’

Katie Edwards reflects on the role that religion played in encouraging her not to speak up about sexual abuse.

The Guardian

Japan prepares to execute up to 13 members of Aum Shinrikyo cult

Japan is believed to be preparing to execute as many as 13 members of a doomsday cult which lauched a sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995.

The Guardian

Tue, 20 Mar 2018

Serious abuse by priests could still go unreported, Church's safeguarding chief admits

Rape and other serious abuse carried out by priests and bishops today may still be ignored and not properly reported, the Church of England's head of safeguarding admitted yesterday.

Christian Today

Church must create ‘culture of challenge’, Peter Ball survivor tells IICSA

A survivor of sexual abuse carried out by the disgraced former bishop of Gloucester Peter Ball has criticised the Church for rejecting "open" and "frank" communication in favour of power and control.

Church Times

Police call for 'counter-terrorism citizens'

Police are asking the public for more help in thwarting terror attacks after more than a fifth of calls to them yielded useful intelligence last year.


‘Ministers need to beef up anti-terror Prevent programme’

Jawad Iqbal says the case of the teenager found guilty of last September's Parsons Green Tube bombing raises urgent questions about the government's counter-terrorism strategy.

The Times (£)

Pope to have final word on plans for funeral of disgraced cardinal Keith O'Brien

Pope Francis will have the final say over funeral arrangements for Cardinal Keith O'Brien, as the Catholic Church looks to draw a line under the scandal which ended his career.

The Herald

Charedi school chief appeals for Theresa May meeting over Ofsted ‘agenda’

The head of a Charedi school in Stamford Hill has made a dramatic appeal to Theresa May for an urgent meeting. The request comes after it was revealed that the school had censored references to homosexuality and female empowerment from its textbooks. The head claims he wants to stop the "secularist agenda" of the inspection service Ofsted.

The JC

‘Help me find the antidote to fight extremists in our own communities’

Sara Khan, the new commissioner for countering extremism, says we need to have a powerful response so extremists do not divide our country.

The Sun

‘Abuse perpetrated under the cloak of religion sets a trap which lasts a lifetime’

Charles Moore tells the story of an abuse survivor he met and says his experience "shows how difficult it is to escape when trust is betrayed".

The Telegraph (£)

Mississippi governor signs US’s toughest abortion ban into law

Phil Bryant, the governor of Mississippi, has signed a law that makes his state the most difficult in the US to get an abortion.


'Clock boy' Ahmed Mohamed's lawsuit dismissed

A federal judge in the US has dismissed a lawsuit by the father of a teenager who was arrested after bringing to school a homemade clock that was mistaken for a bomb. The case gained international attention when the incident happened in 2015.

Dallas News

Hijab removal by New York police prompts lawsuit

Two women have filed a lawsuit with the US District Court in Manhattan after police officers in New York told them to take off their hijabs for official mugshots.

The New York Times

Mon, 19 Mar 2018

SNP governing body pressed to back scrapping Scotland's blasphemy laws

The SNP's governing body will discuss a move to scrap Scotland's centuries-old blasphemy laws this week.

The Herald

Bishop backs calls for independent oversight of safeguarding within C of E

The bishop of Buckingham has said the IICSA child sex abuse inquiry has exposed "stupidity, incompetence and lying" at the highest levels of the Church of England. He has also called for an independent body to oversee safeguarding policy.

The Times (£)

Cardinal Keith O’Brien dies

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, formerly the Catholic Church's most senior cleric in Britain, has died at the age of 80. The cardinal, who resigned as archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh in 2013 after admitting sexual misconduct, was recently injured in a fall.


‘The battle for the soul of RE’

As the RE Commission compiles its recommendations for the subject, the battle lines have been drawn.


Education system a ‘blindingly obvious’ way to improve integration, says Dame Louise Casey

The government's former integration tsar has said it would be a mistake to scrap the cap on faith-based admissions to religious schools without doing more to ensure the curriculum is being properly taught. She has also spoken up about issues such as grooming, the Prevent strategy and the hijab in school.

The Times (£)

UK government will not intervene on abortion in Northern Ireland

Parliamentary questions have revealed that while the UK government might consider imposing same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, it would not intervene on the issue of abortion. Meanwhile police in the Republic of Ireland are investigating an abortion performed on a 12-year-old Irish girl in the UK earlier this year.

Belfast Telegraph

Judgment reserved on Northern Ireland couple's same-sex marriage legal challenge

Judgment has been reserved in a gay couple's legal fight to have their same-sex marriage recognised in Northern Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph

British hospital cuts abortion services to Irish women

One of the main UK hospitals offering abortion services to Irish women in cases of fatal foetal abnormality has scaled back access due to staffing issues.

The Irish Times

‘Religious extremism inspired my abusers in Rotherham’

Ella Hill says grooming gangs are not like paedophile rings; instead, they operate almost exactly like terrorist networks, with all the same strategies.

The Independent

Jeremy Corbyn’s drive for tolerance ‘gave platform to extremists’

A campaign against anti-Muslim hatred launched in parliament by Jeremy Corbyn gave a platform to supporters of jihad, a report says today.

The Times (£)

Richard Dawkins will give away The God Delusion in ‘Muslim world’

Richard Dawkins is to make a number of his books available free of charge in parts of the world with large Muslim populations after an Arabic translation of The God Delusion was downloaded illegally millions of times.

The Times (£)

Fri, 16 Mar 2018

Church's approach to abuse was to 'stonewall' and 'say nothing', says Rowan Williams's former aide

Rowan Williams's former spin doctor yesterday admitted to the IICSA child abuse inquiry that the Church of England's policy was to "stonewall" victims.

Christian Today

‘A shambles is no safeguard’

This editorial says the IICSA inquiry is creating "the overriding impression of continued defensiveness" in the Church of England.

Church Times

Church didn’t report bishop’s sexual abuse crimes because he was gay, says Williams

The former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has suggested that the C of E neglected to take action over a bishop's sexual misconduct because he was gay.

Christian Post

Backlash against BBC’s decision to broadcast from Buckfast Abbey

An MSP has urged the BBC to abandon plans to film Antiques Roadshow at Buckfast Abbey, citing concerns over the tonic wine that bears its name.

The Times (£)

Religious groups claim faith schools are not divisive

Leaders from the Church of England and Catholic, Methodist and Jewish groups have united to claim their schools are "impressive drivers of community cohesion".


Four Catholic secondary schools in Northern Ireland to be merged

Plans to merge four Catholic secondary schools in Northern Ireland have emerged. It is believed De La Salle, St Mary's and St Patrick's Grammar in Downpatrick and St Columba's in Portaferry are to be merged in one 'all-ability' school that will have around 1,600 pupils.

Belfast Live

Why three far-right activists were refused entry to the UK

Three activists with big social media followings from Austria, Canada and the US have been barred from entering the United Kingdom, in a move that some say is part of a crackdown on the far right.


‘We must have the right to call Allah gay’

Brendan O'Neill criticises the decision to ban far-right activists from the UK. Some reports suggest one of them was banned on the grounds that she had handed out leaflets mocking Islam.


Child sex offender who belongs to ‘enclosed religious community’ avoids prison

A paedophile who is part of an 'enclosed religious community' and tried to lure a 12-year-old girl to a hotel has avoided jail. The judge in Luke Simpson's case said he was "persuaded, just, that you are capable of rehabilitation and that the best place for that to take place is in the community".

Daily Mail

The number of ex-Muslims in America is rising

According to the Pew Research Centre, 23% of Americans raised as Muslims no longer identify with the faith. But, The Economist says, "even in the land of the free, apostasy isn't easy".

The Economist

Let us behead killers, urge Sharia rulers in Aceh

The religious authorities in Aceh, on the island of Sumatra, are canvassing public opinion on whether to introduce beheading as a punishment for murder.

The Times (£)

Sri Lanka lifts ban on Facebook imposed amid anti-Muslim violence

Sri Lankan officials said on Thursday they had lifted a ban on Facebook after discussions with the social network, a week after blocking access on the grounds it was being used to fuel communal violence.


Thu, 15 Mar 2018

Illegal schools: Ministers promise crackdown

Ministers are promising new measures to crack down on unregistered illegal (often faith) schools, including new powers for Ofsted to seize evidence and question witnesses.


Shutting illegal schools protects children and helps bridge social divides

Schools minister Lord Agnew explains why "education is at the core of our integrated communities strategy".

The Times (£)

UK's ex-integration tsar says £50m pledge not enough to 'heal nation'

The UK government's former integration tsar Louise Casey has said it will require more than its £50m pledge of funding over two years to boost integration in Britain, saying it will take more to "heal the nation".

The Guardian

Anti-Sharia proposals will do little to integrate isolated communities

Sensitivities around what was once called "community cohesion" and is now termed "integration" remain acute in Whitehall so it is little surprise that the latest effort to promote it has been stuck in the system.

The Times (£)

Chief Coroner claims he misinterpreted Mary Hassell’s ‘unlawful’ protocol

Chief Coroner, His Honour Judge Mark Lucraft QC, has claimed he misinterpreted north London coroner Mary Hassell's protocol to not prioritise funerals and burials based on faith after it was found that he originally described it as "excellent".

Funeral Service Times

Four Labour MPs sent suspect packages and threatening letters as police probe links to 'Punish a Muslim Day' hate mail

Four Muslim Labour MPs have received suspicious packages or threatening letters in the past few days, and police are probing suspected links to anti-Muslim hate mail sent across the country.

The Independent

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