by Greg Spearritt
Religion News Australia
October 5 - 12, 2014
Religion news stories from Australia
(Research: Greg Spearritt)
Frank Houston continued to preach despite sex abuse claims (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 8 - High-profile evangelist Frank Houston continued to preach and deliver televised sermons despite being suspended from his church over child molestation claims, a witness told the royal commission on child sexual abuse.
‘No reason’ to make
Hillsong abuse public, churches told (The Australian)
Oct 8 - THE Pentecostal Christian movement led by Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston told its ministers “we cannot see any reason” for the serial child abuse committed by his father to be publicly announced, a royal commission has heard.
Hillsong founder says he
did not contact police over paedophilia allegations against father (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 9 - The founder of Hillsong Church, Brian Houston, said he knew paedophilia amounted to criminal conduct but did not contact police when he was informed of allegations that his father, Frank Houston, molested a young boy, a royal commission has heard.
Catholic priest Father
John Fleming sues The Advertiser, Sunday Mail over stories (Adelaide Now)
Oct 8 - ONE of Australia’s most prominent priests felt his life and career had ended when allegations he engaged in sexual activity with a young woman were made public, a court has heard.
Accused priest preparing
to leave PNG (Brisbane Times)
Oct 9 - An Australian Catholic priest accused of child abuse is preparing to return to Australia from his home of 30 years in Papua New Guinea.
Detention centre detainee admits sexually
abusing 12-year-old 'wife' after Islamic wedding (ABC
Oct 9 - A Villawood Detention Centre detainee has pleaded guilty to the persistent sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl he married in an Islamic ceremony.
accused of pedophilia hospitalised in PNG, delaying return to Australia (news.com.au)
Oct 10 - AN AUSTRALIAN priest has been hospitalised in Papua New Guinea after it emerged he was preparing to return to Australia amid child abuse allegations.
Catholic priest Father
John Fleming tells SA defamation trial he did not have a “threesome” (Adelaide Now)
Oct 10 - PROMINENT Catholic priest Father John Fleming has denied “defamatory” allegations he had a three-way sexual encounter with two 13-year-old girls.
Anglican Church divests
from fossil fuels, calls for fracking scrutiny in (The West Australian) (ABC
Oct 6 - The Anglican Diocese of Perth has decided to divest itself of fossil fuel investments over what it says is a responsibility to act on climate change.
Karen Armstrong and the
role of violence in religion (Brisbane
Oct 10 – (Review) For many years, Karen Armstrong has offered sane and lucid insight into the many ways in which religion and ideology have shaped the modern world.
Zone of Crisis by Amin
Saikal (Brisbane Times)
Oct 10 – (Review) When the first British ambassador went into Afghanistan early in the 19th century he was accompanied by 200 cavalry, 4000 infantry, a dozen elephants and some 600 camels.
School chaplaincy program
agreed to by ACT Government (ABC
Oct 6 - The ACT Government has agreed to take part in the Federal Government's contentious school chaplaincy program on a limited basis.
program: government stands firm on excluding welfare workers (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 10 - Schools in NSW will be given funding for chaplains but not qualified secular youth workers after the federal government refused to budge from its decision to pay only for religious chaplains.
Teachers urged to report
concerns on radicalised students (The
Oct 12 - Police have moved to stop the threat of radicalisation in schools, with principals and teachers urged to monitor vulnerable students at risk of turning to extremist groups such as Islamic State.
Australian couple explains
the joy of sex to Pope Francis (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 9 - A devout Australian couple married for 55 years have explained the joys of sex to Pope Francis and senior members of the Catholic Church while calling for the inclusion of homosexual couples within the faith.
Two million Muslim
pilgrims ending annual hajj (The
Oct 6 - Mina (Saudi Arabia) (AFP) - Two million Muslim pilgrims begin leaving the holy city of Mecca on Monday, concluding the annual hajj during which Saudi leaders lashed out at Islamic extremism.
Ben Affleck blasts
'racist' comments about Islam during US talk show appearance (ABC
Oct 7 - Muslims around the world have praised US actor Ben Affleck for standing up for their religion during a heated talk show debate.
Ben Affleck fight over
Islam continued after cameras stopped: Nicholas Kristof was there (Brisbane Times)
Oct 9 – (Opinion: Nicholas Kristof) A few days ago, I was on a panel on Bill Maher's television show on HBO that became a religious war.
Saudi activists rev up women's
right-to-drive campaign (The West
Oct 9 - Riyadh (AFP) - Activists in Saudi Arabia said on Thursday they are revving up a right-to-drive campaign using social media in the world's only country that bans women from getting behind the wheel.
Salman Rushdie says
'Jihadi-cool' is seducing young Muslims (Brisbane Times)
Oct 10 - London: Accusations of Islamophobia are being levelled at anyone who dares to speak out against the "hate-filled rhetoric" of Islamist fanaticism, Salman Rushdie has claimed in a speech condemning the Islamic State and "this new age of religious mayhem".
Shlomo Sand: ‘I wish to
resign and cease considering myself a Jew’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 11 - Historian Shlomo Sand explains why he doesn’t want to be Jewish anymore
Kurds battle Islamic
State for control of key town of Kobane on Turkey-Syria border (ABC
Oct 7 - Islamic State fighters tightened their grip on a key Kurdish town on the Syria-Turkey border, sparking fears of a massacre after coalition air strikes failed to hold them off.
militants feared new Islamic State recruits (The West Australian)
Oct 8 - Jakarta (AFP) - The looming release of hundreds of militants from Indonesia's prisons, hotbeds of radicalism where influential Islamists openly preach extremist ideology, is ringing alarm bells and raising fears some will join forces with the Islamic State group.
Islamic State fighters
fled into civilian areas at first sight of Australian forces: Defence (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 9 - Australian Super Hornet fighters pulled out of a potential strike on a moving Islamic State target in Iraq on Sunday night because of fears of killing civilians, Defence has revealed.
Syrian Kurds say air
strikes help push Islamic State back from Kobane (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 9 - US-led air strikes on Wednesday pushed Islamic State fighters back to the edges of the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobane, which they had appeared set to seize after a three-week assault, local officials said.
Islamic State, murderer
of journalists, releases 11 rules for journalists (Brisbane Times)
Oct 9 - Syria Deeply, an independent news site focussing on the Syrian conflict, has published a list of rules that it says have been given to journalists in the Islamic State-controlled Syrian region of Deir al-Zour.
Priest seized by Qaeda-linked
rebels in Syria 'freed' (The West
Oct 9 - Jerusalem (AFP) - A priest kidnapped by Al-Qaeda-linked rebels in northwestern Syria was released on Thursday, the Franciscan Order said, days after his abduction alongside 20 other Christians.
Islamic State jihadists
advance on Syrian border town Kobane despite US-led air strikes (news.com.au)
Oct 9 - JIHADISTS fighting to take a strategic Syrian border town have advanced despite intensified US-led air strikes, as deadly pro-Kurdish protests over the fate of its residents shook neighbouring Turkey.
fighter killed in US airstrikes hailed a martyr (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane)
Oct 10 - A 10-year-old boy who IS claimed was the youngest fighter in the Islamic State is being hailed as a glorified martyr by militants who say the child was killed during US airstrikes.
Islamic State jihadists
may infect themselves to spread Ebola in the West (news.com.au)
Oct 10 - ISLAMIC State members could be planning to infect themselves with Ebola and travelling to the West, waging bio-terror as “suicide bombs”, according to a military expert.
Nobel Peace Prize: Who
is Malala Yousafzai? (ABC News)
Oct 10 - Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban, is being hailed as a champion of women's rights after winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
rebels down but not out after military setbacks (The West Australian)
Oct 10 - BARAWE Somalia (Reuters) - Military strikes that drove al Shabaab rebels from a strategic Somali port this week and killed their leader last month have dealt the group a hefty blow, but it is far too soon to declare victory say Somalis, Western diplomats and military commanders.
Boko Haram: 10 Chinese
workers among 27 hostages freed in Cameroon, says presidency (ABC
Oct 11 - Twenty-seven hostages seized by suspected militants from Boko Haram in Cameroon this year, including 10 Chinese workers, have been released, the Cameroon presidency said on Saturday.
US says Turkey will
train moderate Syrian rebels but presses for details (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 11 - The White House is continuing to press Turkey on how it will train Syrian rebels for the fight against Isis but has said questions remain about the level of support Ankara is willing to give.
teens who joined Islamic State: We’ve made a huge mistake (news.com.au)
Oct 11 - THE teenage girls who abandoned their families in Austria to become jihadis for Islamic State feel they’ve made a terrible mistake by joining the barbaric lifestyle and they want to come home.
Inside the Australian
combat mission to destroy ISIS (The
Oct 11 - IT’S like some Arabian cliche. As we’re walking around the F/A-18F Super Hornet, checking its specs, a sandstorm appears out of nowhere, covering the airfield in fine dust and hazing out the sun.
Kurds hit back at
Islamic State in Kobane (The
Oct 11 - KURDISH fighters halted a thrust by Islamic State group jihadists towards the heart of the battleground Syrian town of Kobane today, after the UN said thousands of civilians were at risk of massacre.
Islamic State attacks
western parts of Kobane; warplanes carry out strikes against IS targets (ABC News)
Oct 12 - Islamic State (IS) fighters have launched fresh attacks in Kobane in an attempt to encircle the Kurdish defenders of the Syrian border town.
Islamic State: Air
strikes fail to stop militants in Kobane, Baghdad hit by 3 car bombs (ABC
Oct 12 - Kurdish forces defending the Syrian border town of Kobane want a United States-led coalition to escalate air strikes on Islamic State (IS) and a supply route through Turkey to reinforce fighters with the town in danger of falling to the militants.
Drone strike kills two
suspected militants in northwest Pakistan (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 12 - PAKISTAN - A US drone strike killed two suspected militants in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, part of a flurry of strikes this week after a long pause earlier this year.
Bombings kill 45 in
Shi'ite areas of Baghdad, IS fighters blamed (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 12 - BAGHDAD - At least 45 people were killed in bombings in Baghdad and its rural outskirts on Saturday as the government continued to defend the capital against jihadists who four months ago seized major cities in northern Iraq.
Kobani could be another
Srebrenica, UN warns (The
Oct 12 - Turkey is under new pressure to help defend the Syrian town of Kobani from Islamic State (Isis) fighters, with a warning from the UN that its fall risks another Srebrenica – the 1995 massacre that symbolised the failure of international efforts to stop Bosnia’s war.
Malala Yousafzai, 17,
threatened by Taliban with ‘sharp and shiny knives’ (news.com.au)
Oct 12 - A POWERFUL breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban threatened teenage education activist Malala Yousafzai with “sharp and shiny knives”, hours after she was declared joint winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
Kurds battle Islamic
State as UN fears massacre (WAToday.com.au)
Oct 12 - Kurdish fighters have halted a thrust by Islamic State jihadists towards the heart of the Syrian border town of Kobane after the UN warned thousands of civilians risked massacre if it falls.
Iraqi Yazidi girl tells
of IS captivity (The West
Oct 12 - The young Yazidi girl rocked apprehensively as she described the ordeal that took her from her family, snatched from her home by militants in Iraq, then sold as a slave in Syria before finally escaping to Turkey.
China 'cult' members
sentenced to death for McDonald's killing (The West Australian)
Oct 12 - A Chinese court has sentenced to death two members of a fringe religious group for beating a woman to death at a McDonald's restaurant, reportedly after she rebuffed their attempts to recruit her.
Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman
says allied mission in Iraq and Syria 'infinitely greater in barbarity' (ABC News)
Oct 7 - An Islamic political organisation, which has been heavily criticised by the Prime Minister, has described the actions of Australia and the United States in Iraq as more barbaric than those of Islamic State militants.
Man 'threatened to light
headscarf on fire': police (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 7 - A man has been charged over allegedly threatening to light a woman's headscarf on fire in West End.
More Muslims needed in
WA Police Force, Acting Commissioner Stephen Brown says (ABC
Oct 8 - More Muslims are needed in the ranks of the West Australian Police Force, the state's acting police commissioner has suggested.
Attacks on Muslim women
a 'sad indictment' on Brisbane (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 8 – (Opinion: Cameron Atfield) It's the ugly side of society and, of late, it has only been getting worse.
Skaters leap to aid of
Muslim women, lecture public for ignoring abuse (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 8 - Patrick Burgess has a message for those who would stand by while minority groups are persecuted.
Muslims warn anti-terror
laws could prevent teaching from Koran (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 9 - A Muslim cleric who preaches from certain passages of the Koran could be caught in the "broad" net of the government's new anti-terror law, Islamic leaders have warned.
Muslim group accuses
government of double-standards in terror laws (The Australian)
Oct 9 - AN Islamic group has condemned the government’s planned terror laws as “a provocation to act”, in a strongly worded statement that appears to legitimise participation in attacks on Israel.
Student who 'married'
girl, 13, pleads guilty to sexual abuse (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 10 - An overseas student who repeatedly sexually abused a 13-year-old girl in Sydney's south-west under the guise of a "marriage" has pleaded guilty to the crime.
Dozens of anti-Muslim
attacks as Islamic leaders warn of community fear (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 10 - There have been at least 30 attacks on Muslims – mainly against women wearing the hijab – in the three weeks since the police anti-terror raids and threats by Islamic State put relations between the Islamic community and mainstream Australia on edge.
Attacks on Muslim
mothers mount (The Age,
Oct 10 - A Muslim mother verbally abused at a Melbourne playground and ordered to stop her child from playing with others is among dozens of attacks against the Islamic community in recent weeks.
Lateline host Emma
Alberici's only regret over Hizb ut-Tahrir interview (The Age, Melbourne)
Oct 10 - It was a simple opening question that Emma Alberici's Lateline guest, Islamic radical Wassim Doureihi, would not answer, but there was one other question the ABC host wished she could have asked.
Terrorists have valid
grievances, say some Muslims (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 10 - Government and law enforcement authorities have failed to win the "hearts and minds" of Muslim Australians with a landmark survey finding that 21 per cent think terrorists have legitimate grievances.
Security agencies to
analyse video of Australian man fighting in Syria, Julie Bishop says (ABC
Oct 11 - Security agencies will analyse a video featuring an Australian man who is reportedly a combat medic fighting with rebels in Syria, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says.
multicultural guardian (The
Saturday Paper, Australia)
Oct 11 - As Coalition figures drum up fears of Muslim extremism, Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells is trying to reassure a community at the crossroads.
World 'deserves' an
Islamic caliphate, says Bankstown sheik Ismail Al-Wahwah (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 11 - A hardline Islamic leader from a group advocating an Islamic caliphate says Muslims should be ready to make sacrifices to achieve it.
Man arrested for
throwing cement bags at Sydney mosque (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 12 - A man has been charged after allegedly shouting offensive comments and throwing cement bags at a mosque in Sydney's southwest.
Terrorist Abdul Nacer
Benbrika reportedly moved from jail after visitors try to join Islamic State (The Age, Melbourne)
Oct 12 - Australian authorities are reportedly reviewing privileges for convicted terrorist Abdul Nacer Benbrika over concerns he is promoting extremism from jail.
The world has misread
the Middle East nightmare and our war without borders (Brisbane Times)
Oct 10 – (Opinion: Paul McGeough) He expected it. But when the call came mid-morning on Thursday, Nizam Mougherit froze – the caller was threatening to behead Ibrahim, the 35-year-old's younger brother who serves in the Lebanese Army.
Islamic ‘burbs on rise,
but minister insists there’s nothing to fear (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Oct 10 - SUBURBS with high Muslim concentrations are becoming more Islamic, but a senior Napthine Government minister says Melburnians have nothing to fear from growing religious enclaves.
Iraq mission will end in
frustration, predicts senator David Leyonhjelm (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 8 - A crossbench senator has accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott of "scaring" the public into supporting Australia's role in Iraq and is predicting the combat mission will end in "frustration" instead of victory.
Hate preachers like Hizb
ut-Tahrir face ban from entry to Australia (The Australian)
Oct 8 - PRIME Minister Tony Abbott will “red card” members of groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir, denying them entry into Australia.
Hizb ut-Tahrir lecture
to proceed despite PM ‘red card’ threat (The Australian)
Oct 8 - RADICAL Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir will proceed with holding a lecture against the US-led mission in Syria in Sydney’s west on Friday night, despite Prime Minister Tony Abbott pledging to stop “hate preachers’’ entering Australia.
Is Prime Minister's
anger at 'hate preachers' justified? (Brisbane Times)
Oct 9 - Hizb ut Tahrir has condemned the terrorist group Islamic State and is overtly non-violent - so why is Tony Abbott "angry and frustrated" he hasn't been able to ban the group, and hopeful new laws will allow him to do so?
PUP senator blames
unemployment for verbal attack on two Muslim women in Newcastle (ABC
Oct 9 - Palmer United Party senator Jacqui Lambie said youth unemployment is to blame for two Muslim women being verbally abused in Newcastle this week.
Muslims and major faith
groups unite against racism, new anti-terrorism laws (ABC News)
Oct 9 - Members of numerous faith groups have gathered in front of Parliament House in Canberra to unite against racism and discrimination, especially towards Muslims.
Prime Minister Tony
Abbott’s ‘red card’ laws pander to hate preacher hysteria (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane)
Oct 10 – (Opinion: Terry Sweetman) IT WAS curious Tony Abbott chose a radio show infamous for advocating the drowning of a sitting prime minister to muse about “hate preachers’’ this week.
Greens moves to head off
jihad (Sydney Morning
Oct 10 - Home-grown terrorism represents a greater threat to Australia than returning jihadist fighters, according to Greens leader Christine Milne, who has proposed the creation of a dedicated national body designed to strengthen social cohesion and dissuade young Muslims from succumbing to radical ideas.
Radicals should be
deported: Lambie (The West
Oct 12 - Palmer United's Jacqui Lambie wants members of radical Islamic groups to be stripped of their right to vote and deported in a bid to combat home-grown terrorists.
Wildcat to use new
prayer room (The West Australian)
Oct 8 - As a college basketballer in California, Drake U'u would join a group of his teammates and coaches in prayer before each game.
another name covers all religions (Brisbane
Oct 10 – (Opinion: Sam de Brito) You know, there are Aussies who feel uneasy about Muslims for exactly the same reason we feel disquiet around Christians - the sheer irrationality of their religion.
Let’s not be witnesses
to a load of elitist nonsense (Herald-Sun,
Oct 10 – (Opinion: Tom Elliott) AFTER my pro-atheism column a fortnight ago, many religious people contacted me either to pray for my misguided soul or condemn it to hell.
says Isis will be 'smacked hard' if they stay in one spot (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 11 - Australia’s commander in the Middle East says Islamic State (Isis) group terrorists are a versatile enemy but if they stay in the one spot, they will be smacked hard.
From the Archive…