by Greg Spearritt
Religion News Australia
December 14 - 21, 2014
Religion news stories from Australia
(Research: Greg Spearritt)
Jewish group Yeshivah
faces royal commission child sex abuse inquiry (Brisbane Times)
Dec 15 - One of Australia's leading Jewish groups will be the subject of a child sex abuse inquiry early next year, following a series of horrific assaults on young people.
Truth, Justice and
Healing Council's challenge of celibacy falls on deaf ears (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 16 – (Opinion: Kristina Keneally) Last Friday the Australian Catholic Church's Truth, Justice and Healing Council released a ground-breaking report on child sexual abuse.
Hutchins School sexual
abuse hearings to resume in Sydney (ABC
Dec 18 - Royal commission hearings into a Hobart private boys school's handling of child sexual abuse allegations in the 1960s are expected to wrap up today without hearing evidence from a former teacher accused of the crime.
teacher Lyndon Hickman moved into public system, witness tells (ABC News)
Dec 19 - A witness has come forward with evidence a paedophile teacher, implicated in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, moved from Hobart's private school sector to the public system.
Royal commission finds
WA Christian Brothers failed to prevent child sexual abuse (ABC
Dec 19 - An inquiry into child sexual abuse at four Christian Brothers institutions in Western Australia has found that the organisation was aware of abuse allegations for decades - and the damage it could cause - but did not stop it.
Christian Brothers 'knew
of abuse claims' (The West
Dec 19 - Christian Brothers’ leaders knew of allegations of sexual abuse of children at four WA orphanages and failed to manage the homes to prevent the systemic ill-treatment for decades, a royal commission has found.
protected paedophile priest John Nestor and church, child abuse inquiry finds (ABC News)
Dec 19 - A senior Catholic cleric failed to note a key conversation with a paedophile priest which ensured a criminal admission was not recorded, a child abuse inquiry has found.
service (ABC News)
Dec 20 - Twenty five years after Newcastle's Christ Church Cathedral was badly damaged in an earthquake, the iconic site will host an anniversary service to commemorate those who died.
The question of Jewish
identity remains painfully unresolved (Brisbane Times)
Dec 19 – (Review) How I Stopped Being a Jew will ensure Shlomo Sand is reviled as a self-hating Jew by Zionists, anti-Zionists, religious, secular Jews, Israeli, diaspora Jews, semitophiles and anti-Semites alike.
A zealot, a rebel, but
no miracle-worker: film studios plot a secular take on life of Jesus (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 21 - Two planned films about the life of Christ are unlikely to be welcomed by traditional believers, but reflect a renewed interest in Bible epics
Leading NSW welfare
worker to advise Pope on child protection (ABC
Dec 19 - A leading New South Wales welfare worker will advise Pope Francis on safeguarding children from sexual abuse.
Man jailed for
'prolonged' and 'violent' bashing of priest, fracturing his jaw (ABC
Dec 19 - A 35-year-old man has been sentenced to five and a half years in jail for breaking into the home of a Catholic priest in Bunbury, Western Australia, and bashing and robbing him.
Christian lobby boycotts
gay student program (Brisbane
Dec 19 - The Australian Christian Lobby is calling on followers to boycott a government-funded federal program that protects gay and transgendered school students from bullying and discrimination.
Archbishop urges revolt
on chaplains (The West Australian)
Dec 19 - Perth Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft has urged religious schools not to take funding for school chaplains from the Federal Government because he says public schools have a greater need.
to miss chaplain funding (The
Dec 19 - Mt Barker Community College will ask for community support to maintain its chaplaincy program after its application for continued funding was denied because of Federal Government cuts to the National Chaplaincy Program.
faces massive enrolments drop, funding uncertainty (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 21 - The future of special religious instruction in government primary schools is in doubt, with state funding uncertain and new data revealing that fewer than one in six students are enrolled in the program.
Thousands sing and tango
for 78th birthday of Pope Francis (ABC
Dec 18 - Thousands of people have sung "happy birthday" and danced a mass tango to celebrate the birthday of Pope Francis.
Catholic church must
face up to feminism (Brisbane
Dec 19 – (Opinion: Julia Baird) Few seemed to notice, but nuns won a quiet, important victory this week.
Pope Francis: ‘I will
not be in the Vatican in 10 years’ (news.com.au)
Dec 20 - POPE Francis says he will not still be in the Vatican in ten years.
The Pope Francis
stardust worked over Cuba. Could it work with Isis and the Taliban? (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 20 – (Opinion: Jonathan Freedland) Stalin had quite a knack for the soundbite.
Saudi woman arrested for
attending football match in Riyadh (The
Dec 16 - A Saudi woman arrested while attending a football game in the kingdom claims she did not know women were prohibited from going to the male-only stadiums, the state-linked Okaz newspaper reported on Monday.
Islamic State prevents
residents fleeing Iraq's city of Mosul (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 16 - Baghdad: Islamic State jihadists in the Iraqi city of Mosul were preparing on Sunday night for an assault from government forces by cutting phone lines and banning residents from fleeing the city.
How the Pakistani
Taliban grew into a deadly force (Brisbane
Dec 17 - The Pakistani Taliban, formally known as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, is a loose and increasingly divided umbrella organisation that once represented about30 groups of militants.
Iraqi Kurds liberate
besieged Sinjar mountain from Islamic State fighters, freeing hundreds (ABC
Dec 19 - Kurdish peshmerga fighters have fought their way to Iraq's Sinjar mountain and freed hundreds of people trapped there by Islamic State (IS) fighters, a Kurdish leader says.
Yazidis cheer Kurds on
Iraqi mountain for breaking Islamic State siege (The West Australian)
Dec 21 - SINJAR MOUNTAIN, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi Kurdish fighters flashed victory signs as they swept across the northern side of Sinjar mountain on Saturday, two days after breaking through to free hundreds of Yazidis trapped there for months by Islamic State fighters.
Silence of the sheikhs
puts Washington's Iraq strategy in doubt (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 19 - Washington: The US plan to save Iraq from the advances of the so-called Islamic State was in trouble even before it was conceived – years before its unveiling in September, the marauding fundamentalists had systematically eliminated hundreds of the Iraqi tribal warriors who Washington believed would take up arms against the new threat posed by IS.
Air strikes kill Islamic
State group leaders in Iraq (Brisbane
Dec 19 - US air strikes have killed several Islamic State group leaders in northern Iraq, a US general says.
Pakistan to challenge
bail for Mumbai attack 'mastermind' (The West Australian)
Dec 19 - ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani prosecutors are to appeal against a court decision to grant bail to a man accused of plotting a 2008 militant assault in India's financial capital that killed 166 people and seriously strained ties between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Islamic State slaughters
100 foreign deserters in Syria, report says (news.com.au)
Dec 21 - THE Islamic State extremist group has executed 100 of its own foreign fighters who tried to flee their headquarters in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the Financial Times reports.
fanatic shot dead after stabbing three police officers (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane)
Dec 21 - A SUSPECTED Islamist fanatic has been shot dead by cops after stabbing three officers in a knife rampage at a police station.
Religious Violence - Pakistan school attack
Time for Pakistanis to
unite and defeat this menace (The
Dec 17 – (Opinion: Jason Koutsoukis) It is not the first time the Pakistani Taliban have shot up a school.
'heartbroken' by Pakistan school attack (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 17 - London: Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, joint winner of this year's Nobel peace prize for her education campaign work, said she was heartbroken by the news that at least 126 people, mostly children, had been killed in a Taliban attack on a school in north-west Pakistan on Tuesday.
Taliban gunmen taunted school captives (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 18 - Peshawar, Pakistan: Taliban gunmen who stormed a school in northwest Pakistan toyed with captive students by suggesting some could be let go before lining them up and gunning them down in front of their classmates, according to a new account by survivors.
Pakistan vows to tackle
terrorism as nation mourns children killed in school massacre (ABC
Dec 18 - A day after the cold-blooded massacre of more than 130 schoolchildren by Taliban militants at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan's prime minister has vowed to extinguish terrorism in his country.
Peshawar school attack is 'just the trailer' warn militants (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 18 - As Pakistan begins to bury the dead after militants rampaged through an army-run school in Peshawar, killing more than 130 children, images of the assailants have emerged, delivered with a warning that the slaughter was 'just the trailer' of attacks to come from the Pakistani Taliban.
Pakistan massacre: A
scene of carnage - a look inside the school targeted by the Taliban (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 18 - Peshawar, Pakistan: A shocked Pakistan on Wednesday began burying 132 students killed in a grisly attack on their school by seven Taliban militants that has heaped pressure on the government to do more to tackle the insurgency.
threatens further violence following Peshawar school killings (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 18 - Peshawar: The Pakistani Taliban has threatened to follow Tuesday's murderous attack on an army-run school in the northern city of Peshawar with yet more violence against the army and security forces.
Pakistan school attack:
PM Nawaz Sharif vows to crush Taliban insurgents (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 18 - Delhi: As funerals began for the 148 victims of the Pakistani Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to crush the insurgents and lifted a moratorium on the death penalty.
Some Pakistan militants
denounce school attack, amid national outrage (The West Australian)
Dec 18 - PESHAWAR/ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - As Pakistanis unite in grief over the killings of 132 schoolchildren by the Pakistani Taliban, several other militant groups have been quick to condemn the carnage too.
Pakistan attack reveals
the truth about terrorism: it kills more poor Muslims than rich westerners (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 18 – (Opinion: Ben Doherty) Those who suffer most from Islamist extremism are not people in rich western nations, but other poor Muslims.
Pakistan gallows await
3000 convicted terrorists, first to be executed within ta days (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 19 - Islamabad: Pakistan's government has fast-tracked warrants of execution for convicted terrorists, moving swiftly on its promise to crack down on militants after a Taliban massacre of 132 schoolchildren in the northern city of Peshawar.
Pakistan military kills
67 Taliban militants (The Age,
Dec 19 - Islamabad: Pakistani jets and ground forces have killed 67 militants near the Afghan border, days after a Taliban school massacre.
Pakistani military kills
over 60 militants after school massacre (news.com.au)
Dec 20 - PAKISTAN has unleashed its fury on the Taliban days after the bloody slaughter of more than 140 people — mostly children — in a school massacre.
Umar Mansoor: Pakistan's
most hated man is a volleyball enthusiast (Brisbane Times)
Dec 20 - Dera Ismail Khan: The most hated man in Pakistan is a 36-year-old father of three and volleyball enthusiast nicknamed "Slim".
Pakistan's agony born of
deep conflicts (Canberra Times)
Dec 20 – (Opinion: Editorial) Pakistan has had a long and bloody acquaintance with terrorism since partition in 1947, but Tuesday's assault on a crowded school in Peshawar set a new low water mark in pre-mediated violence intended to shock and intimidate.
Pakistan hangs convicted
militants in first execution for six years, steps up strikes (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 20 - Peshawar: Pakistan has hung two convicted terrorists in its first executions in six years and its security forces have killed more than 50 suspected militants.
Pakistan to execute more
militant prisoners after Peshawar massacre (ABC
Dec 21 - Pakistan says it will execute more militant prisoners in the coming days, having lifted a moratorium in response to a school massacre in Peshawar.
Sex education from
church and state sends mixed messages in Vietnam (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 16 – (Opinion: Marianne Brown ) On a Saturday morning, about 100 people gather for mass at Thai Ha church in Hanoi.
Dalai Lama says his role
should cease after his death but Tibetans, not China, should decide (ABC
Dec 18 - The Dalai Lama says he thinks his traditional religious role should cease with his death rather than a "stupid" successor replace him and disgrace himself.
Black Lips: Son of a
preacher man embraces the devil's music (Brisbane Times)
Dec 18 - Growing up in suburban Atlanta, it was expected Jared Swilley would follow in what he calls "the family business".
Dalai Lama's star waning
in the West, China official says (The
Dec 19 - BEIJING (Reuters) - Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is drawing less and less attention in the West and manages to win eyeballs only with pointless suggestions that his title will die out with him, a top Chinese official told state media.
Sydney terrorism raids:
Omarjan Azari facing new charges (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 19 - Three new charges of financing the terrorist organisation Islamic State have been lodged against accused Sydney terrorism plotter Omarjan Azari.
Terrorists (The Age,
Dec 17 – (Opinion: William Maley) The dramatic siege in Martin Place has brought the issue of terrorism back to centre stage.
Faces of the four
missing brothers (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 21 - These are the faces of the four missing Elbaf brothers who told their parents they were going on a holiday to Thailand, and then disappeared.
Two hostages and gunman
die as Lindt cafe siege ends in shootout (ABC
Dec 16 - Two hostages and the gunman at the centre of a 16-hour siege at a cafe in Sydney's CBD have died.
Sydney siege: Man behind
Martin Place stand-off was Iranian Man Haron Monis (ABC
Dec 16 - Self-styled Iranian cleric Man Haron Monis is the man police believe was behind the siege at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney's Martin Place.
Martin Place Cafe Siege:
Man Haron Monis named as gunman (news.com.au)
Dec 16 - THE man who held several people hostage in a Sydney cafe for over 18 hours is a self-styled ‘sheik’ with a long history of run-ins with law enforcement.
Martin Place siege: Man
Haron Monis has long history of hatred of politicians (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 16 - The man behind Sydney's siege, Man Haron Monis, expressed outrage about Prime Minister Tony Abbott's "Team Australia" comments in a series of online tirades and has a long history of directing hatred at senior politicians.
'shocked' by Sydney cafe siege, say 'misguided' individuals misrepresenting
faith (ABC News)
Dec 16 - Sydney's Muslim community have said they are horrified by the Lindt cafe siege and are deeply concerned about individuals using spiritual realities for their "misguided political agendas".
Sydney siege ends:
Muslim community lining up to help (Brisbane
Dec 16 - Concerned Muslim community leaders and members were lining up to help the authorities on Monday as news broke that an Islamic Shahada flag had been held up at the window of the Lindt cafe during the siege.
The Grand Mufti of
Australia joins Muslim community leaders in condemning Sydney siege (news.com.au)
Dec 16 - AUSTRALIA’s most senior Muslim cleric, the Grand Mufti, has joined Muslim community leaders in condemning the Sydney siege.
for Muslim Australians takes off following Sydney siege (ABC
Dec 16 - The #illridewithyou hashtag is continuing to trend on Twitter as a show of support for Muslim Australians after the siege at the Lindt cafe in Sydney.
Martin Place Lindt cafe
siege: 'Time ... to band together and defeat evil' (Brisbane Times)
Dec 16 – (Opinion: Keysar Trad) A most unwelcome development has taken place in Sydney's Martin Place this Monday: a lone armed person with questionable motivation(s) has taken over a cafe holding ordinary people like you and me hostage.
Sydney siege: what the
Martin Place incident means to WA (Brisbane
Dec 16 – (Opinion: Suresh Rajan) I preface my comments herein with the conveying of the sincerest of condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the siege that ended a few hours ago.
Sydney gunman Man Haron
Monis a real sheikh only to himself (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 17 – (Opinion: Waleed Aly) Despite the apocalyptic timbre of the siege in Sydney and the perpetrator's apparent links to Islamic terrorism, it was the crude work of one man acting alone.
Sydney siege: why my heart sank when I saw an
Islamic flag (Brisbane Times)
Dec 17 – (Opinion: Mariam Veiszadeh) As a mother and a fellow Australian, I join the rest of the nation in grieving the loss of two innocent Sydneysiders who so tragically lost their lives in the Martin Place siege.
Sydney siege: Australian
Muslim woman explains why she kept her children at home following attack (ABC News)
Dec 18 - A Muslim Australian woman has told of her sadness, frustration and fear following the fatal siege at Martin Place in Sydney, explaining why she kept her children home from school following the attack.
'tense and stressed' over Sydney cafe siege tragedy (ABC
Dec 18 - In Tasmania, Muslim families have cancelled plans fearing reprisal attacks in the wake of the Lindt cafe siege in Sydney.
Sydney siege: inside the
terrifying hostage drama (Brisbane
Dec 18 - In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis was wide awake and agitated, the father of one hostage says.
Strangers hug Muslim
women laying tributes to victims of siege at Martin Place (Daily Telegraph, Sydney)
Dec 18 - Samar Taki was overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers who approached her and her friends as they laid a tribute to the victims of the Lindt cafe siege on Wednesday.
Siege widow Amirah
Droudis undergoes an extremist makeover (Daily Telegraph, Sydney)
Dec 18 - THE unemployed widow of Lindt cafe gunman Man Haron Monis has appeared in a string of video rants wearing a niqab and calling herself a terrorist.
Hostage-taker's wife Amirah Droudis was once hairdresser called Anastasia (Sydney Morning
Dec 19 - Amirah Droudis, the partner of the slain gunman who held 18 people hostage in the Lindt cafe on Monday, was not always the devout Muslim woman she protrayed in her YouTube videos, with a veil covering all but her eyes.
Was the Sydney siege
terrorism or just a terrible act? (Brisbane
Dec 19 – (Opinion: Crispin Hull) Religion played a role in Man Haron Monis' actions during the siege in Sydney's Martin Place no matter how deranged his views were.
Let there be no doubt: Monis
was a terrorist (Brisbane Times)
Dec 19 – (Opinion: Jacqueline Maley) Beyond the sickening confirmation of the two innocent dead, there have been few certainties this week.
Sydney siege: Man Haron
Monis, 'humanitarian' and terrorist (Brisbane Times)
Dec 19 - Man Haron Monis described himself as a ‘humanitarian’.
disrupt Martin Place memorial (Brisbane
Dec 19 - Sydneysiders paying their respects to siege victims at Martin Place have shouted down a group of anti-Islamic protesters who appeared at the memorial on Friday afternoon.
Just dump Man Haron
Monis’ body at sea, Muslim leaders say (Daily Telegraph, Sydney)
Dec 20 - SYDNEY’S chief Islamic funeral director yesterday declared no Muslim funeral home would accept the body of terrorist Man Haron Monis and authorities should just dump his corpse at sea or “chuck him in the bloody shithouse”.
LNP MP George
Christensen says #illridewithyou is a left-wing campaign (The
Dec 18 - FEDERAL LNP MP for Dawson George Christensen is under fire on social media after tweeting criticism of the I’ll ride with you hashtag.
No ‘War on Christmas’ in
Australia (Brisbane Times)
Dec 14 – (Opinion: Helen Andrews) A "War on Christmas", over whether the Christian festival is being forced upon non-Christians, rages in the United States, while Australians see no problem.
performing arts and poker machine club link (Brisbane Times)
Dec 15 - Prominent Christian lobbyist Wendy Francis has condemned the city's leaders for linking a $10 million new performing arts complex in Brisbane to a licensed club with poker machines.
Cyclone Tracy: Chinese
temple idols found upright and whole among joss house ruins (ABC
Dec 18 - The morning after Cyclone Tracy, Ernie Chin found the Chinese temple ruined but the idols of the old gods upright and barely scathed.
Christmas a time to
reflect on reconciliation (Brisbane
Dec 19 – (Opinion: Barney Zwartz) Reconciliation is a wonderful concept often referred to at Christmas, but achieving it after injustices or hurt feelings is hard.
WA religious leaders
deliver Christmas messages of peace and goodwill (Perth Now)
Dec 21 - CHURCH leaders are urging West Australians to refocus on peace and goodwill this Christmas after a year of terror and tragedy.
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